England

FA finds no evidence of racism by fans

England fans at the World Cup qualifying match between San Marino and England.
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LONDON (AP)

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The English Football Association will report to FIFA that it has found no evidence of racist chanting toward Rio and Anton Ferdinand by England fans during a World Cup qualifier against San Marino last month.

A complaint was made to FIFA by anti-racism group FARE following reports supporters sang during the March 22 game that the Ferdinand brothers should be burned on a bonfire.

''We haven't been able to find or identify any individuals chanting,'' Club England managing director Adrian Bevington told Sky Sports on Monday, ''But I want to make clear we are not disputing or refuting the individuals who reported this.''

The FA said in a statement that the governing body would be contacting FIFA to update it on the progress of the investigation.

''We continue to work hard to ensure that any individual who did chant anything of a racist nature in San Marino is identified and, if proven, appropriate action will be taken,'' Bevington said in the statement. ''Therefore we continue to review our video footage from the fixture.

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''Both FARE and members of the media have a duty to report such matters, and we fully support them in their right to do so.''

Neither of the Ferdinand brothers were in England's squad for the 8-0 win in Serraville. But some fans appeared to be angry at Rio Ferdinand declining to join up with the national team after being selected, citing fitness issues, and then choosing to fly to Qatar to appear on television as a pundit for the game.

If found guilty, the FA would face sanctions, including the possibility of England being forced to play a match at Wembley Stadium without any fans.

''The FA takes any allegation of discriminatory behavior extremely seriously, as we will simply not tolerate it,'' Bevington said.
 

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