Alex Ferguson welcomes Rio Ferdinand statement

 

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has welcomed the statement of peace from the Ferdinand family - but acknowledged the racism issue will not go away just because of a handshake at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

It is widely expected that Rio Ferdinand will shake Ashley Cole's hand prior to the eagerly-awaited Barclays Premier League encounter between Chelsea and Manchester United, putting the 'choc ice' furore behind them.

Chelsea captain John Terry, who racially abused Rio's brother Anton, is suspended as punishment for that incident, so the most visual sign yet of a public reconciliation will not happen.

At the very least, it will allow the players of both teams to concentrate on a vital match without being sidetracked by other issues.

However, at the end of a week when both Rio and Anton Ferdinand refused to wear T-shirts backing the anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out, and Reading striker Jason Roberts pointedly avoided answering a question about whether he thought Terry was a racist, Ferguson insists there is still so much to be done.

"Rio and Anton did the right thing," he said.

"But the race issue is bubbling along. It's not just completely gone away.

"The awareness is getting stronger and the PFA are doing their best to support it.

"But the FA, UEFA and FIFA have got to do more. That is without question.

"As far as the actual game itself [on Sunday] I think we just need to carry on and concentrate on the football side."

PA

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