Ferdinand joins brother in racism campaign boycott

Anton Ferdinand joined older brother Rio in refusing to wear a

T-shirt to support an anti-discrimination campaign Sunday, in a

perceived protest at the impotence of organizations during recent

racism cases in English football.

The younger Ferdinand was at the center of the most high-profile

incident in the past year when he was abused by John Terry during a

Premier League match last October.

Terry was banned for four matches and fined 220,000 pounds for

hurling a racial slur, but many players feel the punishment was too

lenient, as with other sanctions related to recent incidents of

racism.

Anton Ferdinand was one of a number of players who declined to

wear a T-shirt promoting the Kick It Out campaign in the warm-up

before Sunday’s Premier League match between his Queens Park

Rangers team and Everton.

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand did the same before

Saturday’s match against Stoke, angering manager Alex Ferguson so

much that the center back could face disciplinary action.

”It is embarrassing for me,” said Ferguson, who had told

members of the press that Ferdinand would not boycott the campaign.

”He will be dealt with, no doubt about that.”

However, Ferdinand’s stance was backed by the chairman of the

Professional Footballers’ Association, which provides funds for the

Kick It Out body.

”We will definitely monitor the situation very closely and make

sure Rio Ferdinand’s rights as a human being, never mind as a

footballer, are not undermined in this position,” PFA chairman

Clarke Carlisle said.

”Everyone has a right to free speech – just like you can’t

coerce anyone into shaking hands, you can’t make somebody wear a

T-shirt – although I do personally believe that joining in with the

campaign is the best way forward.”

Kick It Out has been raising awareness for issues such as racism

since the 1990s and began its latest annual two-week campaign on

Thursday.

However, Reading striker Jason Roberts declared he wouldn’t be

taking an active part in the campaign and many others followed suit

on Saturday, including Rio Ferdinand and the entire squads of Wigan

and Swansea ahead of their Premier League match at Liberty

Stadium.

It has been widely reported that the players are unhappy not

just with Kick It Out but also the FA for a lack of action in

combating racism in football.

Some believe the players’ refusal to wear T-shirts during

warm-up routines actually gives more publicity to the anti-racism

campaign.

Police, meanwhile, are investigating allegations of racist abuse

by a supporter during the northeast derby between Sunderland and

Newcastle at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.