Ex-Hibs star appointed as equality advisor as Scottish football promises to do more to fight racism

Livingston captain Marvin Bartley has been appointed an equality advisor as the Scottish Football Association seeks to "redouble its efforts" to tackle racism.

Livingston captain Marvin Bartley has been appointed as an equality advisor. Picture: SNS

Bartley and former Scotland international Leanne Ross will join the SFA's equality and diversity advisory board (EDAB), which on Tuesday will discuss the alleged racist abuse aimed at Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara.

UEFA is investigating the claims against Slavia Prague midfielder Ondrej Kudela. The defender was seen whispering in the ear of Kamara during the Europa League last 16 clash at Ibrox last Thursday. His words, which said while covering his mouth, sparked a furious reaction from Kamara and his Rangers team-mates. The Finnish international later said he’d been called a “f*****g monkey”. Kudela denies the allegations.

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SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell said: "The incident involving Glen Kamara at Ibrox last week demonstrates that society and football still has a lot of work to do to eradicate racism.

"Scottish football's response shows the commitment to change and EDAB exists to be an agency for change, bringing consensus from across the game on all matters of equality and diversity.

"After witnessing the scenes last Thursday, we contacted Rangers immediately through our equality team to offer our support and guidance through a range of services and we aim to continue that dialogue with any club directly affected by these issues.

"Scottish football has helped raise awareness of the issue of racism by taking the knee throughout the season, but there is an acknowledgment that more needs to be done than a gesture of support, especially in the increasing scourge of racist abuse to players via social media.

"Through our EDAB discussions we will explore ways of implementing meaningful change with players at the centre of those discussions."

Bartley, who has previously been subjected to racist abuse while playing for Hibernian, said: "We have seen all too recently that racism still continues to be a major issue within football and further demonstrates the work that needs done to eradicate it from our game.

"I am eager to join Leanne Ross as an advisor to the Scottish FA, to provide thoughts from a player's perspective on issues that are extremely close my heart.

"Recently we've witnessed every club in the country pull together and unite against racism and now it's time for us to continue to make sure no individual is ever left to feel alone or ostracised."

PFA Scotland will be represented on the board by Tony Higgins.

Fraser Wishart, chief executive of the players' union, said: "The players have shown togetherness with their actions this season, be that by taking a knee or making a stand with Glen as they did at the weekend, and are determined to play their part and make their voices heard. They want action and they want change.

"Awareness and education are key and have never been more crucial as we look to rid our game of the scourge that is racism."

Celtic and Rangers both decided against taking a knee ahead of Sunday’s Old Firm encounter at Celtic Park, choosing instead to stand up together against racism. This followed Motherwell and Dundee United doing similar the previous day.

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