PL: Fitness first for Dunne

Football League chairman Greg Clarke says football must create a

more supportive environment for black players.

Clarke was speaking to Sky Sports News following the broadcast

from the Special Report team, which uncovered several incidents of

racist chanting at football matches.

The report was inspired by Marvin Sordell, the Bolton striker

who said he was called a “slave” by Millwall fans last year and is

one of the few footballers to speak out about his experiences.

And Clarke believes the reluctance of many black footballers to

report incidents of racism highlights a deeper problem within the

sport.

He said: “I was grateful to Sky for shedding some light on a

very dark area in football. Anybody who has been associated with

football for years knows that things are getting better but they

are nowhere near where they need to be.

“To have our players subject to vile and filthy abuse deserves

nothing better than the culprits being arrested and charged with

the full weight of the law.

“We obviously have to stamp out racism. No right-thinking person

could in any way condone the sort of terrible behaviour we saw on

your programme.

“But what chilled me even more was not the racism but the

reticence of black players to feel comfortable in reporting it.

“If we created an environment which doesn’t support black

players in confronting this issue then we’ve done something

terribly wrong.

“So we’ve got to wrap ourselves around our black players, give

them our support to be able to report such episodes and then deal

with such episodes extremely severely.

“I’ve been working with Herman Ouseley (chairman of the Kick It

Out campaign) and (PFA chief) Gordon Taylor behind the scenes,

meeting one-on-one with black players, senior pros, managers, who,

to be frank, don’t want to go on camera and don’t want to put their

head above the parapet but believe things need to be done.

“So we need to create a culture within football which rather

than make the person pointing out the problem the villain, that

they get the support they deserve to be able to point it out to us

so we can do something about it. We need to support the victims

here.

And when asked what steps the Football League would be taking to

stamp out racism, Clarke responded: “By making sure that we use

every tool in our armour.

“We will use CCTV, steward statements, players statements, to

hunt down every racist at every football ground and make sure they

never get into a football ground again, plus be charged by the

police.”

But Lambert admits Dunne, who will become a free agent this

summer, will “not need to prove himself” in terms of his ability

should a new contract eventually be on the agenda.

Dunne has undergone three groin operations since the end of last

season and has suffered another setback after returning to training

two weeks ago.

He has hardly played for 12 months after a shoulder injury

caused him to miss the final third of last season before returning

for the final two games.

Lambert confirmed the former Manchester City player will not

require further surgery on his groin but is unsure when the player

will be available.

He said: “I don’t know. He’s been having setbacks. We will have

to see what the surgeon says.

“We are still no further forward but he doesn’t need another

operation.

“He’s got to keep battling through it. He’s still a bit

sore.”

Wen asked if there was chance of Dunne earning a new contract,

Lambert said: “I think first and foremost we need to get the guy

back fit.

“That’s the big thing for me, to get Richard back fit as quickly

as we can.

“Richard Dunne will not need to prove himself. I know what he

can do.

“He doesn’t need to impress. He’s not 19 or 20 years old. The

main thing for me is that he’s going to be fit again.”