23 Dec 2008
The Muslim Council of Britain today welcomed the strong stance adopted by the Football Association as it seeks to stamp out Islamphobia and racism on football terraces. The MCB endorses the Football Association’s concerns over the leniency of a sentence handed down to a person who admitted chanting racist Islamophobic abuse at Middlesbrough Footballer Mido. The conviction of Barry Hutchinson under the Football Offences Act 1991, was the first conviction of its kind in the case of Islamophobia.
While the conviction is very much welcome by the Muslim Council of Britain, the MCB is greatly disappointed and concerned with regards to the leniency of the sentence handed down. Mr Hutchinson was merely fined £270 with £45 costs rather than receiving, which he ought to have, a football banning order which would have prevented him from attending future matches in the country.
The MCB takes very seriously any case of Islamophobia in football. It is of the utmost importance that the FA and respective organisations take a very strong and unequivocal stance in such cases to send a clear message of condemnation and advocate tough sentences to deter others.
Both the Football Association and Middlesbrough Football Club have also reacted strongly in criticism of the sentence. Writing to the FA’s Chief Executive Brian Barwick, MCB’s Secretary-General Dr Muhammad MBE welcomed the FA’s position on the issue saying `we concur very much with the FA’s reaction to the sentence. We would like to display our satisfaction on the firm position which you have taken in illustrating your disappointment on its leniency.’
Dr Bari added `It is paramount that the FA and the courts react in an equivalent manner to send an unambiguous message and deter similar cases from re-emerging in the future.[END]