A footballer who racially abused another player during a match should have been suspended by his club or even expelled instead of being sent on diversity training, Labour’s Anas Sarwar has said.
The MSP, who has recently launched a campaign against “everyday Islamophobia”, criticised the punishment imposed by bosses at Clyde FC on Ally Love after he used racist language towards Annan Athletic’s Rabin Omar.
Mr Sarwar said: “During the game he called him a P B, you can probably guess what I am referring to.”
Love was suspended for five matches by the Scottish Football Authority (SFA), with the League Two side later confirming the player had been disciplined by the club for breaching its code of practice.
As a result of that, Mr Sarwar said the club announced “their punishment will be sending Ally Love on diversity training”.
He added: “I am sick to death of hearing diversity training being used as some kind of excuse or some kind of punishment. Diversity training should be mainstream for every single one of us.
“Ally Love should be suspended by his club, if not expelled altogether.”
A statement on the football club’s website said: “This incident has highlighted the importance of ensuring that the club provides adequate training and support in the areas of managing conflict and equality and diversity, for all employees.”
Speaking during a Holyrood debate on the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Glasgow MSP added: “We’ve got to send a message, particularly to our young people who will see these footballers as role models, that the time is up, the time for hateful views to be said in the open is up, and indeed to express them privately is up as well.
“The time is up for all these people with these hateful views. I owe it to my children to make sure they don’t grow up in a Scotland where racism exists.
“Actually, we owe it to all of our children to create a Scotland free of any form of hate or any form of prejudice.”
He used the debate to urge organisations across Scotland to “wake up” to the impact of “everyday racism”.
Mr Sarwar was also critical of the SFA decision to suspend Love for five games.
“Managers get suspended for five games when they argue with the referee and are sent to the stand,” he said
“This is a much more severe incident than just being suspended for five games.”