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Mar 29, 2013

FA continues 'racist chanting' probe

The Football Association is to continue reviewing footage of England supporters at the World Cup qualifier in San Marino as it investigates alleged racist chants directed at Rio and Anton Ferdinand.

• Rio Ferdinand blasts fans
• Ouseley demands FA action

Anti-racism campaigner and Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley has called on the FA to take a stance against what he described as the "vile'' and "abusive'' chants.

England have been reported to FIFA by Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), and world football's governing body confirmed that it was examining the allegations.

A number of England supporters joined in the singing of a song suggesting the Ferdinand brothers should be burned on a bonfire.

It has been suggested that the song had racist overtones because Anton Ferdinand was the target of racist abuse from former England captain John Terry.

Rio Ferdinand was targeted by fans after withdrawing from the England squad because it did not fit in with his pre-planned training programme.

The Manchester United defender had been named in the squad for the first time in nearly two years after being left out following the incident between his brother and Terry.

The FA said it had yet to uncover evidence of the 'bonfire' chant being sung but was taking the matter seriously.

"While we have no reason to dispute the media reports, which are without doubt made for the right reasons of fighting racism, at this time we have not found any recorded evidence of the specific discriminatory chanting referring to Rio and Anton Ferdinand and the vile 'bonfire' song," Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said.

"We will, of course, continue to review all of our recorded footage.

"We recognise the importance of FARE's responsibility to report any incidents to FIFA. We will liaise with FIFA and work with them to assist any investigation.

Bevington said it was expected that action would be taken against individuals if it was found that racist chanting had taken place, with banning orders the minimum penalty to be imposed.

"We do not want supporters who chant vile or racist abuse following the England team," he added. "The FA will continue to work closely with Kick it Out and FARE to ensure we do all we can to eradicate racism from football.''

But the Football Supporters' Federation said it believed there was a lack of evidence, and chief executive Kevin Miles told BBC Sport: "The idea that England fans should be reported for what is effectively hearsay is dangerous.

"I did not hear any chanting towards Rio Ferdinand or anybody else that was racially motivated.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report