Fergie: Rio will wear Kick It Out shirt
Sir Alex Ferguson has said his Manchester United players will respect the Kick Racism Out of Football campaign this weekend, despite reports that Rio Ferdinand would be part of a boycott.
Reading striker Jason Roberts has urged other players to not wear Kick It Out T-shirts, in protest against the organisation's reaction to John Terry's racial abuse ban. Roberts believes Kick It Out has "not been strong enough", although on Friday the body released a statement responding to the criticism.
The Football Association punished Terry with a four-match ban and a fine for using a racial slur against QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, although stressed he was not a racist. Terry has opted not to appeal his suspension.
It has now emerged that Rio Ferdinand, Anton's brother, will not be joining Roberts and shunning Kick It Out. "All the players are wearing it. I've only heard Jason Roberts is different," Ferguson said.
Meanwhile, Ferguson has condemned Roberts' stance, and implored others not to join him. "I completely disagree with Jason Roberts, I think he's making the wrong point. Everyone should be united," he said.
"All the players, the country should be wearing the warm-up tops of Kick Out Racism. I don't know what point he's trying to make, whether he's trying to put himself on a different pedestal from everyone, but when you do something and everyone believes in it, you should do it together. You shouldn't have sheep wandering off."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was asked about the matter during his Friday press conference. He said: "They (black players) are they main targets of this campaign and if they don't join it, it will not be credible.
"We all need to fight against this, so they need to be on board. If they feel the punishments being given out for racist incidents are not enough, they need to express this in a different way. It will be sad if they don't join in."
Wenger also expressed his belief that discrimination of all varieties is tarnishing the reputation of the game.
The French coach has been subjected to verbal abuse during his time as Arsenal boss and said the faces he is confronted with on the touchline at away grounds often fill him with fear.
"Racist behaviour cannot be tolerated, so it has to be combination of fines and education to deal with this," Wenger said. "Against stupidity, the best way is information and examples of good behaviour and attitude may much more efficient that punishment and sanctions.
"This is not just black and white issues we need to confront. When you look at some of the faces when you walk around the pitch, it's scary.
"That is still racism in my eyes. Just because you are not in their clan, they discriminate against you. There is still a lot to do, but it is good that society is so keen to fight against it and I think it's getting better. It's a battle that is never won.
"You can say that the FA don't do enough, but at least they are doing something. There are some countries where they don't do anything. I am long enough in this country to say that the FA tackle this problem.
"They don't hide behind it. It is not easy, yet they have a consistent behaviour to fight it every year. You could see that with the Suarez and Terry stories. They do not let people get away with it.
"I don't think that racism is still a big problem in football, but you have some people and some countries who react to that. Still, if I think of when I was a kid and today, we have made huge progress.
"Society has improved a lot on that front, but it is still not completely won. We have to continue to fight it."