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The FA say they disagree that former Crawley manager John Yems wasn’t guilty of “conscious racism” and admit they pushed for the 63-year-old to be handed a longer ban than the one he received. Yems has been banned from football for 18 months after being found guilty of racist abuse towards his players.
Yems admitted one charge and was found guilty of11 other charges by the FA’s independent panel relating to racist abuse, which took place during his time as Crawley boss between 2019 and 2022. But the FA don’t think his punishment was severe enough.
“The FA brought 16 charges of discrimination against John Yems,” the organisation wrote in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. “The independent regulatory commission decided on an 18-month ban for the 12 charges which it upheld or was admitted.
“We had requested a longer ban. Based on the evidence presented to the commission, we fundamentally disagree with the independent panel’s finding that this was not a case of conscious racism.”
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Following the investigation, the FA commission concluded that Yems had told Muslim players “your people blow up stuff with vests,” saying that an Iraqi youth international “would probably blow up the stadium.” He also remarked to another player about “carrying a bomb in his bag.”
The former Bournemouth first-team co-ordinator was also found to have deliberately mispronounced the second part of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s name to emphasise the word “n*****,” as well as telling one player “how dark his skin is” after he had travelled to represent Grenada at international level.
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“Mr Yems’ ‘banter’ undoubtedly came across to the victims and others as offensive, racist and Islamophobic,” read the commission’s report. “Mr Yems simply paid no regard to the distress which his misplaced jocularity was causing.
“[Yems] is a man of jocular disposition. His aim is to encourage bonding among players by cracking jokes and joining in fun with them. [But] he has no appreciation that much of the sort of language which might have been in common usage some 40 or 50 years ago has no place in modern society. There was a considerable weight of evidence to the effect that Mr Yems was in the habit of, in his perception, cracking jokes which were perceived as racist by those who were the butt of the jokes.
“Probably, Mr Yems gave no thought at all to the effect of his language on those at whom the ‘jokes’ were aimed. Nor did he give any thought at all to the likely reaction of others to the language he used.”
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