John Yems has been banned from football for 18 months after being found guilty of 12 charges of racist abuse.
The former Crawley Town manager was charged by the Football Association after he made 16 alleged comments to the club’s players between 2019 and 2022 which ‘included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief and/or gender’.
On Friday, the 63-year-old admitted to one of the charges and denied 15. However at a subsequent hearing, an independent Regulatory Commission found 11 of the alleged comments to be proved and four unproven.
In addition to his suspension, Yems has been ordered to attend an education programme, with the FA saying that written reasons for the ban will be published ‘at the earliest opportunity’.
A statement from the FA read: “An independent Regulatory Commission has suspended John Yems from all football and football-related activity up to and including 1 June 2024, and ordered him to attend an education programme for 12 breaches of FA Rule E3.2.
“The former manager of Crawley Town FC was charged with 16 alleged comments in breach of FA Rule E3.2 during the period between 2019 and 2022.
“It was alleged that each breach amounts to an ‘aggravated breach’ of FA Rule E3.2 as the comments included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief and/or gender.
“It was further alleged that he had discriminated against Crawley Town FC players by reasons of ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief in breach of FA Rule E4 during the period between 2019 and 2022. However, this charge was denied by John Yems and later withdrawn by The FA prior to any hearing.
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“Jon (sic) Yems admitted one of the remaining 16 charges and denied 15. An independent Regulatory Commission subsequently found 11 of them to be proven and four unproven during a hearing.
“The Commission also imposed his sanctions, and its written reasons for these decisions will be published at the earliest opportunity.”
Crawley Town issued a statement too, saying: “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.”
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) worked with the players involved to report the issue and said it ‘welcomed’ Yems’ suspension.
Their senior equalities executive, Jason Lee said: “It takes bravery to come forward to report issues like this.
“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.”
Lee added: “It’s vital that the structures are in place to tackle this kind of behaviour when it’s reported, but for the process to work everyone needs to be able to recognise discriminatory behaviour when they see it.”