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Jason Lee: 'No excuses' for discrimination in the workplace

Jason Lee

The FA is appealing the findings of an independent panel that decided former Crawley Town manager John Yems "is not a conscious racist".

Former Crawley manager John Yems has been banned from football for 18 months for multiple breaches of the Football Association's rule relating to discriminatory comments

The three-person panel - which was convened by the FA after it charged Yems with 16 offences - found he was "not a conscious racist" despite the 63-year-old admitting one charge and being found guilty of 11 others relating to comments that referenced either ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, religion, belief or gender between 2019 and 2022.

John Yems has been suspended from all footballing activity until June 2024, that outcome is the result of a process which began when Crawley Town players raised concerns to the PFA, the players' union, regarding multiple incidents of discriminatory behaviour in their workplace. The PFA subsequently worked with the players concerned to report the issue and take forward the complaint through formal disciplinary channels.

Jason Lee, who amassed over 650 appearances during his professional career, is now Senior Equalities Education Executive for the PFA. He has played a key role in working with the members involved and has said there 'should be no excuses' for discrimination in the workplace.

Lee said: "It's absolutely right that the FA are appealing the disciplinary commission's verdict in the case of John Yems.

"Their full written reasons, which were published last week, essentially excuse behaviour and language which has resulted in 11 charges of discriminatory behaviour being upheld and a ban being given.

"We believe there was no need for the commission to assess his language and his behaviour in this way beyond deciding whether it was discriminatory. They clearly found that it was but, in going beyond that in their written reasons, they have offered a justification that is wholly unnecessary and, in our view, completely without merit.

"In doing so they have caused anger and upset to many, including those who came forward to the PFA to ensure that John Yems was held to account. Every individual is responsible for the impact of their words and their behaviour. There should be no excuses made.

"As their union, the PFA will be continuing to support the players involved moving forward."

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