John Yems: Backlash follows finding that soccer manager who used ‘offensive, racist and Islamophobic’ language is ‘not a conscious racist’


Anti-racism groups and the Football Association (FA) have announced that an independent panel has found a British football manager who was “offensive, racist and Islamophobic” used an “unconscious racist”.

Former Crawley Town FC manager John Yems has been accused of making at least 16 offensive comments between 2019 and 2022, with comments including “relation to race and/or color and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief and/or gender ,” said the FA, the English soccer governing body.

The FA’s independent Regulatory Commission investigated and suspended Yems from all football and soccer-related activities for 18 months up to and including June 1, 2024, for 12 breaches of FA rules, the organization said in a statement on January 6. he was suspended from coaching duties in April pending a regulatory commission investigation and was dismissed from the club in May.

Responding to the independent panel’s findings, the FA said in a statement on Wednesday it would “consider the legal requirements” following the ruling, adding: “We fundamentally disagree with the independent panel’s finding that this case was not of conscious racism.”

Yems admitted to one comment and denied 15, the FA said. At the hearing, the Independent Regulatory Commission of Yems found 11 defendants covered and could not prove the other four, which were added to the FA.

Jems, 62, testified on the panel that he was not a racist. He said that he was of “immigrant stock” and that his wife was from an immigrant family. He admitted that he was not careful enough about speaking in a “politically correct way”.

In its findings, the independent panel said that “11 of the 15 existing charges were established on the balance of probabilities”.

The report, reviewed by jos, outlines some clearly racist statements by Yems, including slurs and crude stereotypes of black people, Muslims and people of Caribbean and South Asian origin.

Despite the “offensive, racist and Islamophobic” comments, the panel – led by Robert Englehart KC and including Wolverhampton Wanderers FC general manager of football operations Matt Wild and Tony Agana, a former football player and expert referee on the FA Claims Panel – found Yems was not a “conscious racist” nor did he deserve a stronger punishment than permanent suspension.

“We accept that Mr. Yems is not a conscious racist,” the board wrote, explaining that it reached this conclusion after considering written submissions from both sides. If it were, a very long, even permanent, suspension would be appropriate.

“However, Mr Yems’s joke has undoubtedly come across as appalling, racist and Islamophobic to the victims and others. Mr Yems simply did not care about the distress he was causing with his mischievous humor,” the report added.

Crawley Town FC and the English Football League declined to comment when contacted by CNN.

Roncus also offered Yems the right to reply through the League Managers Association, the organization that represents English football coaches.

Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out also criticized the findings of the papers, saying in a statement: “The language used in the FA’s independent reporting is simply disgusting.

“Given the seriousness of the incidents expressed, it is very difficult to understand how The FA’s independent panel concluded that Mr Yems was not a conscious racist. We do not share that reasoning. The behavior outlined in the report is called exactly what it is, racism and Islamophobia.

“To be clear, the fifteen-month ban for the severity of the 11 proven crimes is a slap in the face to the victims of the discriminatory abuse expressed in this report and anyone who has been subjected to racism or Islamophobia,” they added.

Meanwhile, anti-racism education group Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) said it was “incredibly disappointed” by the comments the report highlighted.

“Racism,” whether “conscious” or not, has an undermining effect in every moment,” the group added.

“In addition to sanctions from the FA, there must be robust and extensive anti-racism education, otherwise the perpetrator will never understand the impact and trauma that individuals have experienced as a result of their unconscious actions,” he said. SRtRC.

“It is very important that people at all levels of the game see that the football family is united as a race rooted in the game and the wider society.”

The affidavit noted that Yems reported that he had participated in two online courses, but said he had yet to undergo an educational program, which he did not elaborate on.


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