ManU player RIO FERDINAND's decision to refuse to wear a Kick It Out T-shirt prior to his club's 4-2 win at home to Stoke City FC on Saturday "could be a costly one with reports suggesting he will be fined £220,000 ($352,000) for the symbolic gesture," according to EUROSPORT. While Ferdinand's teammates warmed up for the game wearing the T-shirt, which promotes the anti-racism organization's "week of action," Ferdinand "took the decision to discard his, in direct contradiction of his manager's wishes." Manager ALEX FERGUSON was "absolutely furious after the game," accusing Ferdinand of "embarrassing" him and claiming that the defender had "let [United] down" (EUROSPORT, 10/21).
FREEDOM OF SPEECH: The AFP reported that Ferdinand was "taking part in a protest by certain black players," led by Reading striker JASON ROBERTS who claimed that the anti-racism movement was "not doing enough to deal with the high-profile problem." Ferdinand is also "thought to be angry" that Chelsea defender JOHN TERRY was only given a four-match ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother, ANTON, during a match last year. The T-shirts were worn by all players from Stoke City and ManU, "with the exception of" Ferdinand and Stoke's KENWYNE JONES. Ferguson said: "We did that in support of the PFA [Professional Footballers Association]. Every player in the country should have adhered to that. He goes and lets us down. We will deal with it. Don't worry about that." Jones' refusal to wear the T-shirt will "generate far fewer headlines than Ferdinand's actions" and his club Manager TONY PULIS was "far more relaxed about his player's behaviour." Pulis: "Let me just say, in this country, never mind what people say or don't say, they have the right to say yes or no. In a lot of countries, you don't have that right, in this country you do. You have the right to do what you want to do, the right to stand up and do it or not" (AFP, 10/21).
PFA BACKS PROTEST: The PA reported that the players' union has "defended Rio Ferdinand's right to make a personal protest against the Kick It Out anti-racism campaign." PFA Chair CLARKE CARLISLE told BBC Radio 5 Live: "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. Everyone has a right to free speech" (PA, 10/21). The AFP also reported that Carlisle "urged Ferguson to follow the examples of Reading Manager BRIAN MCDERMOTT and Newcastle Manager ALAN PARDEW in allowing Ferdinand "to explain the reasons behind his decision." Carlisle: "There are two sides to this one. First of all, Sir Alex Ferguson is continual in his unwavering support for the Kick It Out campaign, which is commendable and what we all want to see, but you can't vilify or coerce any individual for making a stand" (AFP, 10/21).
The Anschutz Entertainment Group, owner of German Hockey League (DEL) club Hamburg Freezers, released Freezers Managing Dir MICHAEL PFAD on Friday. AEG cited a "difference in philosophy" as the reason for Pfad's sacking. Pfad took over as managing director in Dec. '09 and had not been able to acquire a title sponsor in close to three years (HAMBURGER ABENDBLATT, 10/20). ... German 3rd League club Karlsruher SC appointed ROLF ULRICH as its new commercial manager. The 53-year-old will start his new position on Nov. 1. Ulrich has been a member of the club's board of directors since Nov. '10 (SID, 10/19).
South African national football team assistant coach THOMAS MADIGAGE, age 40, died in a car crash "after an accident involving a stray donkey" (THE SUN, 10/21). ... Former F1 world champion MARIO ANDRETTI "will formally cut the ribbon of the newly build Circuit of the Americas racetrack in Austin, Texas by driving the first lap at the new track in a current F1 car." Andretti's last F1 season was in '82 (SPEED-MAGAZIN.de, 10/19). ... European Ryder Cup captain JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL will play in next month's UBS Hong Kong Open, "where he will join" defending champion RORY MCILROY and PAUL LAWRIE, both members of his European team (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 10/20). ... Australia's Nine Network said that "cricket fans around the world will be cheering on veteran cricket commentator TONY GREIG as he battles lung cancer." Greig "will undergo surgery this week" (AAP, 10/21).
IN THE PADDOCK: Despite dire conditions at Ascot and some serious opposition, horse "FRANKEL made it 14 wins in 14 starts in what was later confirmed as his final race." Frankel's Owner KHALID ABDULLAH "announced afterward that Frankel will now be retired to stud." Frankel's Trainer HENRY CECIL "though gaunt and frail through treatment for cancer, wore a look of utter relief that the journey had been completed victoriously" (LONDON TIMES, 10/20). ... FRANKIE DETTORI “has lost the seven-figure contract” with stable Godolphin that made him the highest-paid jockey in the world. The separation, following an 18-year association, “came as little surprise” after the Italian decided to accept the mount on Camelot for the rival Ballydoyle/Coolmore conglomerate in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe earlier this month (London TELEGRAPH, 10/21). ... NICKY BUTT will coach ManU’s reserves “while he contemplates becoming a manager.” He is assisting WARREN JOYCE in competing in the Barclays U21 Premier League, Lancashire Senior Cup and Manchester Senior Cup (London DAILY MAIL, 10/21).
POST LONDON 2012: The golden throne on which U.K. cyclist BRADLEY WIGGINS posed after winning a Gold Medal at the London Games "is set to be auctioned." Auctioneers Graham Budd Ltd. "believe the chair will reach" at least £10,000 ($16,000) when it goes under the hammer on Nov. 6 (London TELEGRAPH, 10/18). ... Heptathlete JESSICA ENNIS and wheelchair racer DAVID WEIR "rounded off a golden year of success by being voted British Olympic and Paralympic Athlete of the Year." Athletics fans voted for Ennis and Weir as their stars of '12. Ennis secured 48% of the vote, beating double Olympic champion MO FARAH by just 4%, while Weir also collected 48% of the vote, narrowly pipping double Gold Medalist HANNAH COCKROFT to the post (SPORTINGLIFE.com, 10/18). ... Triathlon Olympic Bronze Medalist JONNY BROWNLEE "followed in the footsteps of his brother ALISTAIR by being crowned world champion in New Zealand." The 22-year-old from Leeds, England "headed into the World Triathlon Series Grand Final with a 180-point lead over Spain's JAVIER GOMEZ and needing just a podium finish to secure the overall title" (RTE.ie, 10/21).