Malky Mackay should face a season-long ban from football for the offensive texts he sent to a former colleague at Cardiff, according to ex-Football Association chairman Lord Triesman.
Former Cardiff manager Mackay has apologised for sending three messages to the club’s ex-head of recruitment Iain Moody which he admits were “unacceptable” and “inappropriate”. The Daily Mail published details of four further messages it alleges were of an offensive nature on Saturday.
One of those, it is claimed by the newspaper, makes a racist reference to Cardiff’s Malaysian owner Vincent Tan. The other three are of a sexist and homophobic nature, it is alleged.
The FA has confirmed it is investigating the dossier of messages involving Moody and Mackay sent to it by Cardiff, but it may be unable to sanction either man if the messages are deemed to be private correspondence.
Triesman, who served as FA chairman between 2008 and 2010, believes Mackay should be barred from the game for a season solely on the strength of the three messages he admits sending, should the FA have jurisdiction to act.
“There could very well be a significant period in which he can take no part in football,” Triesman told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme.
“If it turns out to be three texts then maybe a season (ban), if it’s more than that it may be much more.”
He added: “Assuming that the evidence is stacked up – I can’t pre-try it – I think the FA, in the same sense that it can say to players ’here is a period in which you can take no part in playing’, could do so with other people in football.”
In May, the FA said it would not sanction Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore over emails of a sexist nature which he sent.
Current FA chairman Greg Dyke said at the time: “The FA does not as a matter of policy consider private communications sent with a legitimate expectation of privacy to amount to professional misconduct.
“The FA has applied this policy on an ongoing basis and in relation to numerous other cases.”
Lord Ouseley, the chairman of anti-discrimination campaign group Kick It Out, believes the case highlights a greater need to address prejudice and bigotry in sport.
He told Sportsweek: “It’s very difficult to prescribe what is appropriate.
“My concern is that we’re talking about one individual and focusing on that individual and I understand why that is, but we’re talking about the wider implications for the game.
“Malky Mackay is probably thinking ’Hey, I’m unlucky, I’ve got into a situation where all my texts have been forensically examined’. If that happened to every other football manager, senior administrator and other people at top levels of the game then there wouldn’t be many people working in the football, the game might just collapse.
“I think what we have got to recognise is that there is a serious problem about prejudice and bigotry and where that is in the hands of people with power, something’s got to be done and it’s got to be done now.
“The Malky Mackay case is a microcosm that enables us to focus on what is a real, serious problem. If football is going to get to grips with this it has an opportunity now and that’s why the role of the FA is important.
“You can say a season, two seasons, whatever, if we think that’s it, close it off, we’ve dealt with that and the problem is over, it isn’t.”
Mackay insisted he is not racist, sexist, homophobic or anti-Semitic in an interview on Sky Sports News HQ on Friday.
He said: “Out of 10,000 text messages in and out of someone’s phone I sent three and that being the case, looking at them they are completely unacceptable, inappropriate and for that and for any offence I’ve caused I sincerely apologise for that. That’s something I did and there is no excuse for that.
“I did it in a period where I was under immense pressure and stress in terms of the relationships that were possibly not going too well at my football club at the time. But that doesn’t excuse anything and was unacceptable. I’m a manager, I’m a leader of people and it should not have happened. But before all that and foremost, I’m a human being and I made a mistake.
“I love British football and I am no racist, I am no sexist, I am no homophobe and I am not anti-Semitic.”
The fallout from the scandal has been huge, with the League Managers’ Association receiving severe criticism for its handling of the situation after initially defending Mackay’s actions as “friendly banter”.
Cardiff issued a damning statement on Friday, demanding LMA chief executive Richard Bevan step down from his role, with the Bluebirds also irate that the body questioned the timing of the report being made public.
Despite the LMA issuing an apology for the “inappropriate” wording of its initial statement, the damage may have already been done to Bevan with Cardiff continuing to maintain his position is “untenable”.
In a statement issued via the club’s law firm Mishcon de Reya, Cardiff said: “We.. find it entirely reprehensible that the LMA should itself put out a statement which seeks to dismiss deeply offensive racist comments as ’friendly banter’.
”If that is the view held by the LMA, as appears from its statement, we consider that Richard Bevan’s position is untenable and we call for his resignation.”