Ferdinand Cool On Creation Of Black Footballers Union Amid Anti-Racism Row
ManU defender Rio Ferdinand is "planning to revolutionize English football with the launch of a breakaway union to protect the interests of black footballers," according to Neil Ashton of the London DAILY MAIL. Ferdinand "already joined other high-profile black players in overseeing the first draft of a constitution." Ferdinand and his colleagues "want to tackle discrimination in all forms and will hold a series of meetings in London over the next few weeks." The union currently has a working name of The Federation of Black Players. It will be "open to players from all ethnic backgrounds who share a desire to combat racism in English football." The union will also be "self-funded by professionals at every level." The idea, conceived by Ferdinand, is "already gathering momentum among black players and has received widespread support." It will be "the first of its kind" in the U.K. (DAILY MAIL, 10/22). Meanwhile, the London GUARDIAN reported that Ferdinand "quickly moved to downplay reports" of the new footballers' union. On Tuesday, Ferdinand tweeted, "Don't believe all u read" (GUARDIAN, 10/23).
OFFICIALS WARN AGAINST UNION: The London TELEGRAPH reported that Professional Footballers' Association CEO Gordon Taylor said that Ferdinand's plans to form a breakaway union are "divisive and damaging." Taylor said that the protests "risk creating serious faultlines within the game." Taylor has called on several black footballers to "work with him and unite a sport struggling to tackle racism collectively." Taylor said, "I feel we are imploding. The longer it goes on, the more divisive it is becoming. If they want their own particular select group who they fell they can influence everybody more than the whole PFA as a union together, I would say they are seriously mistaken (TELEGRAPH, 10/23). Also in London, Mark Cue reported that FA Chair David Bernstein called on "disenchanted players not to form a union." Bernstein: “Do I hope players will stay within Kick It Out? Yes I do. Fragmentation would be a shame, but at the same time we have to understand on moral issues people have to be able to make their own choices." Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger "warned against opening up a schism." Wenger: "I think any split is bad. If you want to fight against racism, you should not create any federation on a difference that you want to fight against. I personally can’t see the logic in that” (LONDON TIMES, 10/23).