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Oct 22, 2012

UEFA to back anti-racism campaign

John Terry will be asked by UEFA to wear an anti-racism armband if he captains Chelsea against Shakhtar Donetsk Tuesday.

"Every team will be accompanied onto the pitch by children wearing 'Unite Against Racism' T-shirts and the captains will be asked to wear a 'Unite Against Racism' branded armband," UEFA said in a statement Monday.

The armband will be used as part of a week of action by European anti-discrimination body FARE (Football against racism in Europe).

Terry last week accepted a four-match ban for racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand, but the suspension only applies to domestic matches, meaning he is eligible to play for Chelsea in the Champions League Tuesday.

The campaign will be promoted at 40 matches across the Champions League and Europa League this week.

Meanwhile, Professional Footballer's Association chairman and Kick It Out ambassador Clarke Carlisle said Rio Ferdinand should not be punished for his refusal to wear an anti-racism T-shirt.

Several players, including the Manchester United defender and his brother Anton declined to wear the T-shirts supporting the anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out while warming up for weekend matches, apparently unhappy with what they consider a lack of progress.

Ferdinand's decision brought strong criticism from United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who promised the player would be "dealt with," and who had previously criticized Jason Roberts' stated intention not to wear a Kick It Out shirt.

"Sir Alex Ferguson is trying to reaffirm his unwavering support of the Kick It Out campaign and that's fantastic," Carlisle said. "But this should not be seen as player versus club or dissension from a player against their employer. This is about a group of players and some wider issues that transcend that relationship.

"We would not want to see Rio Ferdinand punished. As I said of the handshake saga, you cannot coerce any man against his will and to do so would be the complete opposite of what the campaign is for.

"(Reading manager) Brian McDermott and (Newcastle manager) Alan Pardew said they had good conversations with their players to understand why (they did not wear the T-shirt) and they respect them in that.

"Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out in his own interview he did not know why Jason Roberts or any other player would not want to wear the T-shirt, so I hope that conversation takes place in the next couple of days."

Anton Ferdinand was the victim of racial abuse from Terry in a league match last October.

The T-shirt campaign came days after ugly scenes in Serbia where Danny Rose was sent off at the end of an England under-21 match during which he complained of racist abuse from the crowd.

And Northumbria Police said they were investigating one report of racist abuse from a supporter during the 1-1 draw between Sunderland and Newcastle at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

Carlisle said he had spoken to a number of the players who chose not to wear the T-shirt, and had listened to their concerns.

"This is a group of players who are trying to make a statement,'' he said. "But the main point they would like to make is about the way governing bodies have approached issues over the past 12-18 months, the way they have investigated them and the expediency of those investigations, and how weak the sanctions were at the end of them."

The Premier League confirmed backing for the Kick It Out campaign, saying "huge efforts have been made to make football more inclusive."

Former Liverpool and England star John Barnes called on Rio Ferdinand to explain his decision publicly.

"If you are brave enough to go against Sir Alex Ferguson as Rio did, then he's brave enough to say who he is unhappy with, because I can't see that they are unhappy with Kick It Out," Barnes told talkSPORT.

"I understand the reasons for them highlighting it, but if they are not happy with the ban that John Terry got then it's the FA and they shouldn't target Kick It Out."

Police in England are investigating claims that Senegalese striker Demba Ba was the subject of racist chants during the Newcastle United-Sunderland match Sunday, Sky Sports reported.

"There was one report of racist language having been used by a supporter in one area of the stadium. Enquiries into this report are ongoing," the police spokesman told Sky Sports.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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