Football's anti-racism week began yesterday with a number of Premier League players, including Rio Ferdinand, declining to wear the Kick It Out T-shirt prior to their game and Chelsea confirming that John Terry will continue as their captain despite being found guilty of abusing Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers a year ago.
So the saga that began on 23 October last year dragged on. Ferdinand's brother Rio was among the players not wearing the "one game, one community" top to warm up, even though his Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, had criticised Reading's Jason Roberts for a similiar stance. Ferguson has threatened to discipline Ferdinand. "I am disappointed," he said. "I said that the players would be wearing it in support of the PFA and that every player should adhere to it. And he goes and lets us down. We will deal with it, don't worry."
Roberts, who believes football's anti-racist organisations and the Football Association have not been strong enough, went ahead with his protest and was supported by Manchester City's Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards. A number of Swansea City and Wigan Athletic players had decided to follow suit, and at Upton Park the referee and his assistants were given the T-shirts, leaving one player without one.
Chelsea's chairman, Bruce Buck, announced that Terry would remain captain. He told TalkSport that the former England captain, who decided not to appeal against his four-match ban and fine by the FA, had received by far the heaviest fine ever imposed by the club. "We have taken disciplinary action and we think it is firm disciplinary action and appropriate for the circumstances," Buck said. "We have kept it in mind that a court of criminal law found him not guilty. Of course we also note the FA decision and we certainly respect that decision." Buck apologised to Anton Ferdinand's family for what they have been through.
Terry, whose suspension applies only to domestic matches, is now expected to wear the armband in the Champions' League game away to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
Chelsea won an exciting game 4-2 at Tottenham yesterday to maintain a four-point lead at the top of the table over United. Ferguson's side beat Stoke 4-2 with Wayne Rooney scoring twice as well as conceding an own goal. Manchester City stayed level with their neighbours with a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion.