By Martyn Herman
The League Managers Association (LMA) has apologised for the wording of a statement issued in response to discriminatory text messages sent by former Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay.
But the Welsh club are not satisfied and have called for the resignation of the LMA’s chief executive Richard Bevan, accusing the organisation of attempting to conceal the messages.
The Scot was ruled out of the running for the vacant Crystal Palace manager’s job on Thursday after the Daily Mail published details of texts he sent while in charge at the Welsh club.
While Mackay, who left Cardiff under a cloud last year following a falling out with owner Vincent Tan, apologised via the LMA for the messages he called “disrespectful of other cultures”, the LMA said they were “friendly banter”.
However, after widespread criticism of its reaction, the LMA issued a new statement on Friday.
“The LMA apologises for some of its wording, in its release yesterday, which was inappropriate and has been perceived to trivialise matters of a racist, sexist or homophobic nature. That was certainly not our intention,” it said.
“It is beyond argument that any comments that are discriminatory, even used in private, are totally unacceptable. The LMA remains absolutely aware of our responsibility to the game and to promote and uphold the highest standards of behaviour.
“The LMA will not be commenting further on the allegations relating to Malky Mackay while the FA conducts its investigation, other than to repeat that both the LMA and Malky will be cooperating fully.
“We will continue to work with all of the game’s stakeholders to address the important issues of respect and discriminatory behaviour in all its forms.”
But Cardiff responded with a statement saying: “We find it entirely reprehensible that the LMA should itself put out a statement which seeks to dismiss deeply offensive racist comments as ‘friendly banter’.
“If that is the view held by the LMA, as appears from its statement, we consider that Richard Bevan’s position is untenable and we call for his resignation.”
Cardiff’s statement claimed that the LMA knew about the messages through their lawyers more than three months ago, adding: “The LMA were therefore complicit in the attempt to conceal these messages.
“The LMA is the representative voice of managers, and whilst we understand it seeks to act in the best interests of its members, one of its major aims is to “encourage honourable practice, conduct and courtesy in all professional activity.
“Regrettably, we feel that the LMA has done no such thing in its representation of Mr Mackay and Mr Moody.”
The incident involving Mackay and former Cardiff sporting director Iain Moody, who resigned from a similar role at Crystal Palace on Thursday, has stirred up another storm over discrimination in British football.
High-profile cases of racist language involving the likes of Chelsea skipper John Terry and former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez have blighted the game and the Mackay incident prompted leading anti-discriminatory organisation Kick It Out to say the game was “tainted” by racism and homophobia.
“These revelations are further confirmation of how football is tainted with racism, sexism, homophobia and antisemitism, and the culture which continues to exist throughout the game and in wider society as a whole,” a statement said.
“The reality is that these views are most dangerously held by those people in positions of power, and the football establishment knows and condones it.
“The governing bodies and the clubs must denounce such attitudes prevalent in the game, and take the appropriate action. If these types of exchanges made privately make it into the public eye, the individuals concerned must accept the full consequences of their actions.
“Kick It Out now awaits the outcome of The Football Association’s investigation.”
A report in Friday’s Guardian newspaper said reported incidents of alleged racism, sexism, antisemitism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination had trebled last season with 284 incidents reported from all levels of the game.