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Ex-manager of English soccer team Crawley Town suspended 15 months for racist behavior toward players

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Former Crawley Town Football Club manager John Yeams has been suspended from English football until June 2024 for racist behaviour.

An independent commission banned Yeams earlier this month after it was found that he had credibly committed at least a dozen acts of racist behavior towards the players he coached. An investigation into Yeams’ behavior began in May after he was removed from office in late April following “serious and credible” allegations of racist behavior.

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Shortly after another investigation was launched by the English Players’ Association when numerous Crawley Town players came forward with allegations against Yeams, the fourth tier club parted ways with him on 6 May 2022.

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Yeams was found guilty of the charges on 6 January and was exonerated by the English Football Association. detailed list of allegations against him this week. The document details many cases of racism against players of different backgrounds and nationalities.

Cases of racism and Islamophobia

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Yeams has been manager of Crawley Town since 2019 and the document says much of Yems’ documented racist behavior came about after the end of the 2019-20 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yeams was charged with 16 counts of racist behavior. He admitted to one of the allegations and denied 15 others. The commission found that 11 of the 15 allegations he denied were credible.

The first documented instance of Yeams’ behavior came from a Nigerian player. The player said that Yeams would ask him if he would eat “jerk chicken”, apparently suggesting that the player is of Caribbean descent. The player also recalled an incident “when he was playing darts in the cafeteria with Player 2, another black player, when Mr. Yeams asked what they were doing playing darts when people like them usually put sharp things through their mouths”, before than to make a reference to the Zulu warriors.

CRAWLEY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: John Yeams, manager of Crawley Town, watches before the Sky Bet League Two match between Crowley Town and Port Vale at The People's Pension stadium on October 30, 2021 in Crawley, England.  (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
John Yeams coached Crawley Town from 2019–22. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

The same player also said that Yeams mispronounced Arnold Schwarzenegger’s last name to make it sound like a racial slur. The second black player said that Yeams would ask him about dried chicken.

Yeams also referred to the Asian player as a “curry eater” and mocked him for eating curry. Another player detailed that the player was half-Indian and half-Irish making fun of his ethnicity, and “one day while the players were eating pizza from sponsor Domino’s Pizzas, Mr. Yeams asked him if he was upset about not having a curry pizza.”

An Iraqi Muslim who played for Yeams said Yems joked about being a “terrorist”. According to the report, he said that Yeams would ask if he “slept with an AK47 and said he couldn’t have a GPS vest because you people are blowing things up in vests.” carried a bomb in his bag.

Why didn’t Yems’ ban last longer?

Duration of Yeams’ ban on coaching football immediately became the focus of attention because of the language used to justify the relatively short suspension. Even the FA stated that they did not agree with the length of the ban.

The IC said Yeams was not suspended for longer because he was “confident that Mr. Yeams as a person is not a racist” and that he “never intended to make racist remarks”. He also describes him as having a “joking nature” and out of touch with current events, although he probably “had no thought at all about the effect of his language on those who were targeted by the ‘jokes'”.

“Mr. Yeams is a man of a playful disposition,” the jury wrote. Yeams describes himself as “old school” and uninterested in the subtleties of political correctness, and it’s fair to say that he doesn’t realize that much of the language that might have been common 40 or 50 years ago has no place in today’s society. “.

On Wednesday, the FA said it disagreed with the decision to suspend Yeams until June and demanded a longer ban on the coach. The anti-racist group Kick It Out also spoke out strongly against the brevity of the ban.

“The behavior described in the report should be called exactly as it is; racism and Islamophobia,” Kick It Out said in a statement. “To put it bluntly, the 15-month ban, given the seriousness of the 11 proven charges, is a slap in the face for the victims of the discriminatory abuses detailed in this report and anyone who has been subjected to racism or Islamophobia.”


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