Sir Alex Ferguson praises Rio Ferdinand for speaking out about racism

 

Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday praised the Ferdinand brothers for speaking out about issues surrounding racism in the game and backed their calls for more action from the governing bodies.

"I think Rio and his brother Anton have done the right thing there [with their statement on Wednesday]," he said ahead of Manchester United's Premier League match at Chelsea tomorrow. "I think it's bubbling along, that race issue. It's not completely gone away. But the thing is the awareness is getting stronger and the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association] are, I'm sure, doing their best to support it. The Football Association has to do more with Uefa and Fifa."

The United manager also warned against allowing the gap to Chelsea at the top of the league to open to seven points. "It could be a league in which you will suffer if you lose bad ones," he said. Ferguson also revealed that his club will be without their midfielder Shinji Kagawa, who has made an impressive start to the season, for up to four weeks because of a knee injury.

Roberto Di Matteo said yesterday that abuse from supporters was a part of the game that players had to accept. It is sure to become an issue when Rio Ferdinand visits Stamford Bridge for the first time since John Terry's racial abuse charge.

Di Matteo was asked on a number of occasions whether he would explicitly request the Chelsea fans did not abuse Ferdinand, the brother of Anton, whom Terry was found guilty of racially abusing last month on an FA charge. It was also put to Di Matteo that Patrice Evra has been singled out by the home support at Stamford Bridge in the past.

Di Matteo said: "I don't know how every supporter will react. Generally our fans have been respectful and good in their behaviour. We get booed as well when we go away from home. It's not just focusing on our supporters. Our supporters have been generally very good."

Asked whether he would condemn Ferdinand being abused, the Chelsea manager said: "Hopefully our supporters will cheer us on and try to push us to win the game."

Pushed on why he was reluctant to condemn the abuse of the player, Di Matteo said: "I think you get that in every stadium. It's happened with many players before. I remember when I was playing with Graeme Le Saux he used to get booed a lot. So... some people feel that's right and some don't. I think our supporters have been good, that's my belief."

Much of the abuse that Le Saux received from crowds during his career was homophobic, unjustifiable in any circumstances and in this case directed at a player who is not gay. On another note, Di Matteo said that there would be no issue with Ashley Cole shaking hands with Ferdinand before the game. Cole gave evidence in the criminal case against Terry, who is suspended.

On suggestions that Ferdinand would seek out Terry at the ground to shake his hand, Di Matteo said that he welcomed that. He said that there would be no requirement of his players to wear the "Kick It Out" anti-racism campaign T-shirts in the warm-up following Ferdinand's refusal to wear one last week. He said: "We are supporting the "Kick It Out" campaign. It is going to be a choice for our players. My personal opinion is that we should raise awareness of it and show support for campaign. We support it."

There was also a lukewarm response from the Chelsea manager to the PFA's proposal that any player or official should be sacked for racism – an awkward issue at Chelsea given Terry's guilty verdict. "I think it's a difficult one," Di Matteo said. "If the majority believe that we need a law like that then as I said we will obey it."

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Life and Style
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on