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Fergie stands by Rio and calls for more racism action

SUPPORTED: Ferguson has backed Rio Ferdinand over more to be done in the fight against racism

PREMIER LEAGUE manager Sir Alex Ferguson has joined a growing litany of voices calling for greater action to be taken against racial abuse in football.

The 70-year-old Scot urged football’s leading authorities “to do more” in combating racism, a position which echoes Rio and Anton Ferdinand’s joint statement issued last Wednesday (October 24).

The Red Devils chief had been left embarrassed by Ferdinand’s refusal to don a Kick It Out T-shirt during the warm-up of last weekend’s match against Stoke, as prior to the game Ferguson said all his players would wear the tops.

There had been talk of the club fining the defender for not going along with protocol, but the issue seems to have been resolved when Ferguson climbed down, taking the heat out of the situation which had initially provoked his ire.

Ferguson has now shown further support to his centre-half by throwing his weight behind the footballer’s statement – made in consultation with the Ferdinand family – agreeing with sentiments of the two brothers that not enough has been done to clamp down on racism within the game.

“Rio and Anton did the right thing,” Ferguson said. “It has been bubbling along and the racism issue has not completely gone away. I am sure the Professional Footballers’ Association is doing its best, but the FA, UEFA and FIFA have to do more.

“The awareness is getting stronger”, he added.

The Ferdinand brothers, along with other notable black players like Jason Roberts, have been highly critical of how football’s governing bodies have handled the fallout from racist incidents such as the Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, and John Terry – Ferdinand incidents.

Terry was charged by the FA and handed a four-game ban and £220,000, while Suarez was made to sit out eight matches for Liverpool and ordered to pay £40,000 for calling Evra “negrito” multiple times.

The disillusionment of black players about the punishments and length of time taken for decisions to be made – particularly with the John Terry case – has led to questions over black players breaking away from the PFA and forming a separate union.

However, there is talk of a line being drawn under the Terry – Ferdinand affair, especially in regard to handshakes, for Anton’s older brother has indicated he is willing to shake hands with Ashley Cole when the two meet in Sunday’s match between Chelsea and United at Stamford Bridge.

Cole provided a witness statement in court defending Terry, which helped the defender in being found not guilty of racially aggravated abuse. Ferdinand then branded Cole a “choc ice” on Twitter for his testimony, a comment for which the FA fined him £45,000.

Reading striker, Roberts, who has been an outspoken figure in recent weeks, has also struck a more conciliatory tone after he publicly declared he would be willing to shake the hand of John Terry. Yet the 34-year-old refused to say whether he thought the Chelsea captain was a racist.

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