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SBD Global/October 23, 2012/International Football
UEFA Asks Captains To Wear Anti-Racism Armbands This Week
Published October 23, 2012
CHOOSING SIDES: In London, James Riach noted Kick It Out anti-racism campaign Chair Herman Ouseley "has defended the organisation and blamed the football authorities for a lack of leadership" following a weekend that saw several players boycott the charity's awareness drive by refusing to wear shirts promoting its message. ManU player Rio Ferdinand and Reading player Jason Roberts are among a growing number of players "who have become disenchanted with Kick It Out's efforts to stamp out racism and discrimination." Ouseley, however, "has rebutted the perceived lack of action from Kick It Out, claiming that the group is relatively powerless by comparison with the FA and Premier League." Ouseley: "We don't make the decisions, we don't run football. We are a small charity trying to help football come to terms with the reality of the 21st century" (GUARDIAN, 10/21). The PA's Ian Parker noted the Professional Footballers' Association Chair & Kick It Out ambassador Clarke Carlisle "hopes the decision of some players not to wear anti-racism T-shirts will prompt discussions rather than punishments." Rio Ferdinand's decision brought "strong criticism" from ManU Manager Alex Ferguson, who promised the player would be "dealt with." Carlisle said, "Sir Alex Ferguson is trying to reaffirm his unwavering support of the Kick It Out campaign, and that's fantastic. But this should not be seen as player versus club or dissension from a player against their employer" (PA, 10/22).
SUPPORT FROM THE SIR: In London, Riach noted Ferguson has supported the campaign "Let's Kick Racism Out of Football" since it was established in '93. It later became Kick It Out. His pre-match stance "does not negate the work he has done during the past 19 years, but it comes at a time when high-profile incidents have dragged the game's reputation well and truly through the gutter." Ferguson "may feel his authority has been undermined by Ferdinand," but the 33-year-old was not the only one this weekend that demonstrated his frustration with Kick It Out's progress (GUARDIAN, 10/21). The London TELEGRAPH noted Ferguson insists his dispute with Rio Ferdinand has been resolved and was little more than a "communication issue." Ferguson: "The issue's simple. I've spoken to Rio. It was a communication issue. He felt I should have spoken to him on Friday, and I didn't anticipate that he'd have a problem wearing the shirt" (TELEGRAPH, 10/22).