Leading football anti-racism organisation Kick It Out say that recent comments by Norman Smurthwaite were “outrageous” and a “sad day” for Port Vale.
Smurthwaite caused controvery this week when he claims he had turned down the opportunity to hire Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink over fears of racist abuse from Vale fans.
Kick It Out issued the following statement.
Kick It Out is disappointed at the admission from Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite, that he denied Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink the opportunity to manage the club in 2014, due to the fear of racist abuse from a “small minority” at Vale Park.
Although Mr Smurthwaite’s intentions may have been to protect Hasselbaink he has in fact denied an opportunity to a manager.
Kick It Out Chair, Lord Herman Ouseley said: “This is outrageous that we have an owner admitting he wanted to protect a manager because of the possibility of abuse, he has discriminated against Hasselbaink and denied him the opportunity of being Port Vale manager.
“If there’s a problem then it needs to be addressed and tackled. If education is needed then let’s do something about it.
“It is a sad day for Port Vale Football Club in 2015 when a football club owner admits this.
“Are black managers not capable of protecting themselves? The main criteria should be the best person for the job. Owners and decision makers at football clubs have a duty of care to appoint the best candidate.”
Kick It Out continues to work with Port Vale and is always available with support to clubs to promote messages of equality and inclusion.