LONDON: Ferdinand brothers Rio and Anton Ferdinand have moved at last to signal that it is time to move forward, positively, over the issue of racism in Engish football.
In a statement, the Ferdinand family expressed their disappointment with the actions of the Football Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association during the last year – i.e. in both the time it took to deal with John Terry and the nature of his punishment.
However the underlying message of the statement was supportive in concept of the six-point plan proposed by PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor in response to threat of a breakaway black players’ union.
The Ferdinands agreed to call a halt to the internal squabbling and open discussions with the relevant bodies which include the FA, the Premier League, the Football League and the players’ union.
It has been reported that they have also decided to call a truce with Terry and Ashley Cole. Thus Rio is now expected will now shake hands with Cole – who gave court evidence on behalf of Terry – at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League match on Sunday. Terry is suspended for the match.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck issued a public apology to the Ferdinands once Terry had decided not to appeal against his FA ban and fine for abusing Anton Ferdinand, and Taylor’s actions convinced them it was time to move on for ‘the betterment of the game’.
In a statement, the Ferdinands said: “It has been a year since the incident at Loftus Road (between Terry and Anton Ferdinand). In that time, some of the deep divisions that exist in football have been exposed.
“During the coming months there will be ongoing discussions, we are sure, on finding a way forward. We intend to participate in these discussions with other current and ex-professionals of all races, from the grass roots upwards.”
Last weekend, both Ferdinands joined a number of black players in refusing to wear T-shirts supporting the FA-sponsored Kick It Out campaign.
However the statement added: “On the issue of Kick It Out, we would like to go on record to say what fantastic work they have done in the past regarding education and awareness. However, times change and organisations need to change with them.
“Although we have been left disappointed by the PFA and the FA’s actions over the last year, as a family we are committed to working with football’s existing organisations towards the betterment of the game and to achieve immediate action.”
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