PRWeek podcast: Liverpool made 'ultimate mistake' in handling of racism in football
Liverpool football club's comms strategy around the incidents involving Luis Suarez has been 'naïve', 'weak' and 'too little, too late', according to sports comms professionals.
Race row: Luis Suarez refused to shake Patrice Evra's hand (Getty Images)
Racism in football was tackled in the latest PRWeek podcast with Gavin Megaw, a director at Hanover and former director of marketing and comms at the Football League, and Adam Raincock, director of comms at Synergy.
Both were quick to criticise Liverpool over the handling of striker Luis Suarez being charged for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and of Suarez’s refusal to shake Evra’s hand when the two teams met last Saturday.
‘It was a case of too little, too late from Liverpool,’ said Raincock. ‘As soon as the incident tipped into a wider issue, the club needed to take a firm stance – which they never actually did.’
Raincock admitted that if Suarez had told the club before the match that he was to shake Evra’s hand there was not a lot Liverpool could do, adding that the power is with the players.
However, Megaw refused to believe that ‘player power’ was to blame and said that often clubs hid behind this excuse.
‘The players are employees of the club, they have contracts to hold them to account. If Luis Suarez hasn’t done what he should have done in a week where he could have killed all this for good if had just shook the hand, then I hope the club punish him and take significant steps against him, not just make him apologise.’
Megaw said that it took Liverpool’s principal sponsor Standard Chartered to weigh-in before the club started to communicate with the press. He said: ‘Once it became a commercial issue the club stepped in to deal with the matter.
The club’s decision to look to its fan base to guide their response to the Suarez affair has been the ‘ultimate mistake’ added Megaw. ‘Throughout, Liverpool have been very, very naive. You need to look at a wide range of stakeholders when you’re checking whether a strategy is working and it clearly wasn’t working.’
This article was first published on prweek.com
Latest jobs Jobs web feed
- PR Account Manager fishtank 24k to 33k per year GBP, Surrey
- Brand Manager Radisson Blu Edwardian, London Competitive , South Kensington, London
- Junior Account Manager fishtank 22k to 28k per year GBP, Buckinghamshire
- senior planner > SPORTS BRANDS collectivo Up to £90,000 plus benefits, London
- Head of Media, Marketing & Communications PGA Competitive, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands
- Graphic/Web Designer fishtank 27k to 35k per year GBP, United Kingdom
Integrated digital marketing offers huge opportunities to engage, servic...
Mobile marketing is coming of age, and the pace of change is now exponen...
With UK consumers spending an average of £1,083 a year online, int...
Conversational Mobile Marketing: Engage Customers and Empower Advocates (Expert Reports) External website
The pressure is on for marketers and mobile operators to embrace a strat...
As a nation, the UK is media and technology obsessed with over half of t...
All customers have the potential to become your brand advocates, driving...