Rio Ferdinand 'faces fine' for anti-racist protest
Alex Ferguson furious after player defies him by not wearing Kick It Out T-shirt
RIO FERDINAND has provoked the ire of Alex Ferguson after refusing to wear a 'Kick It Out' T-shirt ahead of yesterday's match with Stoke City because he feels the anti-racism campaign is not doing enough for its cause.
BBC Sport reports that the Manchester United manager said after the match that Ferdinand's decision not to put the shirt on for the warm-up was "disappointing" and "embarrassing" and added that Ferdinand would be "dealt with" for his actions. The Sun on Sunday even claims that Ferdinand will face a fine of £220,000 - two weeks' wages.
In contrast, says the BBC, when Reading player Jason Roberts decided not to wear his T-shirt on principle ahead of his match with Liverpool, also yesterday, manager Brian McDermott was highly supportive.
McDermott said: "I support him 100 per cent… Jason had his view and it was a very strong view." He added that he respected Roberts's decision. Ferguson meanwhile hinted that Ferdinand could be disciplined by the club.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that Ferdinand's brother Anton, of Queens Park Rangers, will not face any disciplinary action for copying his brother's protest today as QPR played Everton at home. The paper says the club regard it as a matter for personal choice.
The paper observes that the protests come on the weekend that Chelsea publicly apologised to the Ferdinand family for the racial abuse which John Terry directed against Anton Ferdinand last year. Terry suffered a four-match ban imposed by the FA and the club now says he will receive a record fine on top of the £220,000 with which the Association has already penalised him.
The Sunday Telegraph says the Ferdinand brothers are not the only people who feel that the Kick It Out campaign - originally founded to tackle racism, but later given a wider remit to combat all forms of prejudice - is failing in its aims.
It adds that the biggest show of support for the two men came ahead of the match between Swansea and Wigan where no player wore one of the shirts with the slogan 'One game, one community'.
For The Observer, Jamie Jackson points out that the Manchester United squad yesterday included Patrice Evra, racially abused last season by Luis Suarez, and seen to be wearing one of the slogan T-shirts as he warmed up before Saturday's match.
He reports Alex Ferguson as saying ahead of yesterday's match that he believes Jason Roberts was making the "wrong point". Ferguson added: "Everyone should be united, all the players in the country wearing the warm-up tops. Yes, all my players will wear it."
Writing for The Sunday Telegraph, Henry Winter says the protest by the Ferdinand brothers and Roberts is " a sign of disgust at what they perceive is the authorities’ slowness in confronting racism".
But, he adds, the players should look more closely at Kick It Out's work. If they did, they would see that the T-shirts are just one part of a campaign based on the belief that education is the best way to eradicate discrimination.
Jason Euell of Kick It Out might be expected to be annoyed by Ferdinand's decision not to wear one of his organisation's shirts, but he tells the BBC that the player’s stance will actually send a message to football's governing bodies. Just putting the T-shirts on and “jogging around” makes it too easy for the FA to brush racism aside and for the PFA to allow it to be brushed aside, says Euell. By making a stance, Ferdinand will help the campaign gather momentum.