Ex-Crawley Town boss given 18-month ban after being found guilty in racism probe

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John Yems left Crawley in April amid accusations of discriminatory behaviour (Image: Getty Images)
John Yems left Crawley in April amid accusations of discriminatory behaviour (Image: Getty Images)

Former Crawley Town manager John Yems has been banned from football for 18 months after being found guilty of 12 charges of racist abuse towards his players.

Yems, 63, had been accused of making 16 comments which were in breach of FA Rule E3.2 between 2019 and 2022. They were alleged to have referenced either ethnic origin, race, nationality, colour, gender or religion.

On Friday, the ex- Crystal Palace, Millwall and Reading reserves player admitted to one charge by the Football Association but denied the other 15. An independent regulatory commission then found 11 of the claims to be proven and four unproven during a hearing.

Yems has now been suspended from all football-related activity until June 1, 2024. The 63-year-old also faced a further allegation that he'd discriminated against his players by reasons of ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.

Yems denied the charge and it was withdrawn by the FA prior to the hearing. He was suspended by Crawley on April 23 last year after the club learned of "serious and credible accusations" relating to the use of discriminatory language and behaviour towards their squad.

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13 days later, Yems parted company with the West Sussex side. The decision came shortly after after the FA confirmed that it'd be investigating the allegations against him.

A statement from Crawley read: We would like to thank the Football Association for its thorough investigation into these serious allegations and the independent Regulatory Commission for its thoughtful consideration and ruling on the findings.

"As we have said many times, Crawley Town Football Club will never tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. We remain eager to partner with our players, staff and supporters as we build a team and community that Red Devils fans can be proud of — both on and off the pitch."

Ex-Crawley Town boss given 18-month ban after being found guilty in racism probeJohn Yems has been banned from football for 18 months (Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

PFA senior equalities education executive Jason Lee, who played for the likes of Lincoln City, Nottingham Forest and Watford during his 23-year career, said that he hoped the outcome of Yems' investigation would subsequently give others confidence to come forward if they've faced discrimination.

"It takes bravery to come forward to report issues like this," Lee stated. "It's a massive thing for any individual to do, and that's why it's so vital that players have confidence that they will be listened to, believed and supported. I hope this outcome shows our members that there is a process in place, that it will be followed, and it can result in proper punishment.

"A person's behaviour won't change unless they are held to account. Letting it go unchecked and allowing them to just quietly reappear in other roles at other clubs doesn't protect the players."

Ex-Crawley Town boss given 18-month ban after being found guilty in racism probeJason Lee is the PFA's senior equalities education executive (EMPICS Sport)

Lee then doubled down on the PFA's call for equality, diversity and inclusion training to be made mandatory within all football clubs. "It's vital that the structures are in place to tackle this kind of behaviour when it's reported," he added. "But for the process to work everyone needs to be able to recognise discriminatory behaviour when they see it."

Crawley currently sit fifth-bottom of League Two under caretaker boss Darren Byfield and are in the midst of a major shake-up under new owners WAGMI United, a cryptocurrency sports company. A slew of WAGMI's peculiar decisions have caused controversy at Broadfield Stadium, such as handing tails to three YouTube stars or recently sacking manager Matthew Etherington after 32 days.

Nathan Ridley

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