Football coach accused of enforcing racial segregation by telling white players ‘don’t change in the black boys’ room’
A football coach is being investigated by the FA for allegedly abusing his own players with racist insults and running a segregated training ground where the club’s black stars use a separate changing room.
This comes a month after FA had opened a probe into Crawley Town manager John Yems’ conduct after a group of Crawley players reported his alleged use of offensive language to the PFA, with the League Two club suspending the 62-year-old the next day.
Crawley’s American owners, investment group WAGMI United, found the claims about their manager’s behavior shocking and quickly proceeded to remove Yems within hours of the story being published, asking him to leave the team hotel in Mansfield at 1.30am ahead of a match later that day.
Sportsmail have now revealed details of the allegations against Yems, which he denies. They include:
Presiding over segregated changing facilities with two dressing rooms at the training ground which, although not official policy, was reinforced by comments to white players such as, ‘Don’t change in the black boys’ room’.
Frequently referring to a number of the squad’s players from Asian backgrounds as ‘terrorists, suicide bombers and curry munchers’.
Calling one youth-team player a ‘suicide bomber’ on a regular basis and telling him not to get the train home wearing a backpack because fellow passengers would think he intended to blow it up.
Routinely using the n-word and referring to one black player as a ‘Zulu warrior’.
Calling a young player of Cypriot extraction a ‘Greek bobble-head’ and mocking Greek music.
Banishing two players with ethnic minority backgrounds from training with the first team without explanation.
Causing such resentment in the squad that seven players complained to the PFA last month, with at least one seeking counselling as a result of the damage the manager did to his mental health.
It was gathered that numerous players were left traumatised by their alleged treatment at the hands of Yems, with several of them in tears as they confided in staff at Crawley over the last couple of weeks.
One Crawley player, who did not wish to be named, told Sportsmail: ‘He called us terrorists, suicide bombers, curry munchers. He also called one of the players a Zulu warrior. It’s been going on since 2020-21 — in the changing room, during training. No one challenged him on it as he’s the gaffer and we didn’t feel we could. Sometimes players say things in the heat of the moment but from the manager it’s different. He’s the boss, so it’s an abuse of his power.
‘I’ve been in a dark place and really struggled. Two players were effectively kicked out of the club last year for no reason. They were made to train on their own and haven’t been seen since. One of the lads said Yems was screaming in their faces, “F*** off you c***s, get out of our club”.’
A member of staff at Crawley, speaking to Sportsmail, claimed: ‘John would see it as banter, but it’s race-related bullying that has had a damaging effect on several players. Some of them would play along but it’s really hurtful, and many of them are young boys. People were uncomfortable, but most of the players opted to keep their heads down and you can understand why
‘These are not Premier League players — they are only one fallout with the manager from being kicked out of the club and probably falling out of the professional game. If you leave Crawley, where do you go?’
Crawley described the allegations as ‘serious and credible’ after Sportsmail’s initial reports. The matter is now in the hands of the FA’s disciplinary department, who are deciding whether to charge Yems with a breach of rule E3, which prohibits discrimination against another individual’s protected characteristics such as race, colour, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
An FA spokesperson told Sportsmail last night: ‘We are treating the allegations extremely seriously and are conducting an investigation. We cannot comment further until that has concluded.’