Monday, October 22, 2012


Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson had a training ground summit on Sunday to thrash out their differences over the Kick It Out controversy.

Rio refused to wear a T-shirt in support of football’s anti-racism movement before Saturday’s 4-2 win over Stoke, prompting his manager to hint at severe punishment in a post-match TV interview.

But on Sunday - just a few hours before QPR manager Mark Hughes claimed football may never be rid of racism - the two met in Ferguson’s office at the club’s Carrington training ground, where Ferdinand arrived with the rest of the first team for a massage and warm-down session.

Ferguson told Ferdinand he was disappointed — not that the defender did not wear the T-shirt, but that he didn’t warn him. Ferguson thinks this made him look foolish after he told the media on Friday that all his players would wear the T-shirts.

Ferdinand accepted this point and the two agreed to move on.

A United source said on Sunday night: 'Rio wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t deliberately trying to ignore his manager’s instructions while the manager just said he ought to have been told in advance.'

With so many other players choosing not to wear the shirt, Ferguson would risk a lengthy dispute if he tries to fine Ferdinand.

On Sunday afternoon Ferdinand’s brother Anton, along with five Queens Park Rangers team-mates, also refused to wear a T-shirt before the 1-1 draw with Everton. 

Ferdinand was upset at the way the John Terry race affair was handled and unhappy with comments Lord Ouseley made on Friday evening, saying he could not speak for ‘black footballers who have lots of money and power’.

QPR boss Mark Hughes will not be taking any action against his players as he voiced concerns of his own.

He said: 'It's a personal thing but my personal view is that any campaign that focuses on trying to take racism out of sport and football is a good thing and we should try to support it.

'Everyone will have a view about whether or not enough is being done. Sometimes someone will take a personal view that what's being done is not enough but you'll never get rid of it totally. I don't think so. It's very, very difficult. There'll always be some idiot who feels that it's something they want to do.'

The man who started the debate over the value of the Kick it Out campaign is set to meet the group for talks.

Reading striker Jason Roberts suggested players should not back the campaign because it was ineffectual. Now it is understood Roberts intends to meet Kick it Out chairman Lord Ouseley this week to talk about ways to make the organisation stronger.

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