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Oct 29, 2011

High-profile racism rows surprise Fergie

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has given his take on the recent race rows to have engulfed the game, admitting he "can't believe'' such issues are still arising.

Ferguson celebrates 25 years in charge of the club next week and has seen a number of changes in the game over that time, in particular the rise in the amount of foreigners playing in England.

One of his own overseas players, Patrice Evra, recently complained of racial abuse by Liverpool's Luis Suarez while last weekend, Chelsea captain John Terry was accused of making racist remarks to Anton Ferdinand.

Discussing the incidents with a number of English newspapers, Ferguson said: "There's no doubt in my mind what happened at Anfield with Patrice but it's the FA's responsibility to sort it out.

"We spoke to them a few days ago, they are doing their work and we will leave the matter in their hands. But I'm very surprised that this sort of thing is happening now. I don't know if it's just a coincidence that two cases are going on, let's hope we don't get three, but this is 2011, for goodness sake.

"I can't believe there is any sort of issue over race in the game given the number of black players who take part. It's such a rare, rare occurrence for this sort of thing to surface. I can't even remember the last time allegations of this sort were levelled against a player.''

Ferguson believes the game is lucky to have such a diverse mix of nationalities playing it, and says the rise in overseas players has been the biggest change during his time at Old Trafford.

He added: "Everyone knows the contribution black players have made to modern day football, and have been doing for many years, so it's surprising to have this happening now. Just within our own club we have had some fantastic players with great personalities, and we've been very lucky to have them.''

"That's the biggest thing that's changed in the game in my 25 years. All we dealt with back then were English players, or British players at least. It has been a great challenge for me, and for other managers, to deal with all the different cultures and nationalities you find in football now.''

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