Ferguson: No issues with Rio over T-shirt dispute
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has settled his public
dispute with Rio Ferdinand following the defender’s refusal to
promote an anti-racism campaign, blaming a ”communication
problem” for the rift.
Ferguson accused the experienced center back of ”embarrassing”
him by declining to wear a T-shirt in support of the ”Kick It
Out” anti-discrimination campaign, having told the media his whole
squad would don the tops before the Premier League match against
Stoke on Saturday.
However, Ferguson backed down Monday, saying ”I’ve spoken to
Rio. I think there was a communication problem. He felt I should
have spoken to him on Friday and I obviously didn’t anticipate that
he’d have a problem wearing the shirt.
”As the manager of a club, you lay down policy and you don’t
want to see it ignored,” Ferguson added. ”That’s where my anger
came from on Saturday. But we’ve resolved the situation, there’s no
lingering problems and we move on.”
Ferdinand was one of many Premier League players to boycott the
Kick It Out action this weekend, as a protest against a perceived
lack of strong action taken by organizations in recent high-profile
The Football Association, which partly funds the Kick It Out
campaign, punished John Terry with a four-match ban and fine after
finding the Chelsea defender guilty of racially abusing Anton
Ferdinand – Rio’s younger brother – during a Premier League game
Many believe that sanction, together with Liverpool striker Luis
Suarez’s eight-match ban for repeatedly racially abusing United
defender Patrice Evra in another on-field incident late last year,
was too lenient.
”My advice to him (Ferdinand) was that I always feel a union is
stronger than an individual,” Ferguson said. ”It’s important he
airs his grievances to the right people, to the PFA (Professional
Footballers’ Association) or the FA.”
Ferguson said Ferdinand will not play against Braga in Tuesday’s
Champions League match at Old Trafford – but stressed it had
nothing to do with their dispute over the weekend.
”We have a (Premier League) game on Sunday against Chelsea and
it’s a big one for us,” Ferguson said, ”so I’m leaving a couple
of players out (Ferdinand and Evra).”
Chelsea and United are the top two teams in the league after