Cameron hosts talks on football racism

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Story highlights

  • Cameron says football can "crack this problem"
  • The English Premier League has had a number of high-proflie incidents
  • One case stems from comments a Chelsea footballer allegedly made
  • Racist taunts, alleged and proven, have dogged English football for years

British Prime Minister David Cameron will hold talks at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday to discuss racism in football following several high profile incidents in the English Premier League.

"We simply cannot brush this under the carpet," Cameron said, writing in The Sun newspaper. "I've no doubt that football will crack this problem — and the Government stands ready to do anything it can to help."

Racism has been in the spotlight after cases involving some of football's most-famous players and figures.

England national manager Fabio Capello resigned this month after a meeting with English Football Association chairman David Bernstein.

Capello had openly criticized on Italian TV the English FA's decision to remove John Terry as England captain.

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Terry, who is accused of racially abusing another player during a match, will go on trial July 9 following the Euro 2012 finals.

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The case stems from comments the Chelsea footballer allegedly made to Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand in an English Premier League match last year.

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Alison Saunders, chief crown prosecutor for London, said Terry is being prosecuted for a "racially aggravated public order offense" because of the comments during the October 23 match.

The maximum penalty for the offense is £2,500 (about $3,950).

The London-born defender has denied the allegations.

Cameron says recent events highlight the need to end "all forms of discrimination."

The FA, the Premier League and every club has signed onto a charter to "Tackle Homophobia and Transphobia in Sport."

In another case last year, Liverpool's Luis Suarez was suspended and fined for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Suarez was suspended for eight matches and fined £40,000 ($63,000), England's Football Association announced in December.

Evra said Suarez repeatedly shouted a racial slur at him during the October 15 match and demanded that Suarez be held accountable.

Suarez did not specify what he said, but said it wasn't offensive. And his club issued a statement saying it was "very surprised and disappointed" with the decision.

Racist taunts, alleged and proven, have dogged English football for years.

In January, police arrested a man on suspicion of making a racially abusive gesture at a high-profile soccer match between Liverpool and Manchester United.

Earlier that month, Merseyside police arrested a 20-year-old man on "suspicion of a racially-aggravated public order offense" following a Liverpool match against Oldham.

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