Tag Archives: minority

No evidence Rio Ferdinand was racially abused by England fans during World Cup qualifier in San Marino, say Football Association

FA finds no evidence that England fans racially abused Ferdinand brothers during San Marino qualifier

fixture in Moldova.

A football banning order means an individual must surrender their passport, excluding them from all travel abroad around England international fixtures.

'We've been asked to supply our
submission to Fifa by Tuesday, which we will do,' said FA Managing
Director of Club England Adrian Bevington.

'We have gone through all of the video evidence that our security team recorded on the evening of the game.

'I do want to make clear that while
the journalists who have reported this have done so in good faith, they
clearly have heard chanting of a particular nature, and we're not
disputing that, but we haven't been able to identify any of that from
the recorded evidence that we've gone through.'

Fare, who did not have their own
observers at the match, have collated the evidence on the basis of
'hearsay', according to the Football Supporters Federation.

Having been selected for an England squad for the first time since June 2011 for the Brazil 2014 qualifying double-header with San Marino and Montenegro, Ferdinand withdrew after telling Roy Hodgson he had to follow a pre-planned programme of treatment on his back trouble.

He then attracted ridicule by flying to Qatar to appear as a pundit for the match on the Al-Jazeera television channel.

It was widely reported the morning after the game that England fans had sung derogatory songs about Rio and his brother Anton, with the FA promising to investigate the claims.

Ferdinand said on Twitter at the time: 'You expect and accept banter from
fans on the terraces as it's part of what makes the game great, but
racism is not banter and from your own fans. WOW.

'Always a small minority who ruin it for others.'

He added: 'Let's not jump to
conclusions and assume though as it might just have been banter. We'll
see after the investigation.'

The FA issued a statement confirming they had launched an investigation and would review video footage taken by their officials.

They also promised to ban any England fan found guilty of racist abuse and vowed to 'do all we can to eradicate racism from football'.

And the FA also issued a strong call for an end to the 'No Surrender' chants.

The statement read: 'We will not accept any racist chanting and we also call on those attending England matches at home and abroad to stop the “No Surrender” chanting during the singing of the national anthem, both before and during games.'

The prospect of Fifa sanctions was then raised after Fare flagged up to world football's
governing body the vile songs which suggested the pair be burned on a bonfire.

The chant in San Marino was: 'Build a bonfire, build a bonfire, put Rio on the top, put Anton in the middle, then burn the f****** lot.'

Football Supporters’ Federation chief executive Kevin Miles, who was at the game, said: ‘Leaping to formal complaint on the basis of second-hand and hearsay information without engaging with supporters’ organisations who were present or the FA is not an approach designed to create the best possible outcome.

‘The Football Supporters’ Federation stand firmly against any manifestations of racism within football. On this occasion, I personally have not heard any of the anti-Rio Ferdinand sentiment being expressed in a way that could be construed as racist.

‘Anger about Rio Ferdinand’s absence from the squad and presence in Dubai in an Al Jazeera studio was strongly felt and clearly expressed. But I heard no racist content. If there were songs sung with racist undertones, then that is a matter for concern. But even then the response needs to be measured, proportionate and constructive.’

Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley today called at the time on the FA to take a stance on the 'vile' and 'abusive' chants by England fans aimed at the Ferdinands.

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

Abuse: England supporters chanted that Rio (above) and Anton Ferdinand (below left) should be 'burned'

Abuse: England supporters chanted that Rio (above) and Anton Ferdinand (below left) should be 'burned'

Anton Ferdinand (left)

Who are FARE

Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) is an international network of groups active in over 40 countries.

Their aim is to help support and coordinate efforts across borders and strengthen activity at national level.

According
to their mission statement: ‘We want to see the beautiful game played
without discrimination and used as a social tool to unite communities,
overcome exclusion and create social change.

'Our
focus is on tackling racism of all kinds, homophobia, and to empower
minorities and women to realise their personal and collective
potential.'

The general objectives of the FARE network are:

To
promote a commitment to fight discrimination at all levels of football
across Europe – in stadiums, on the pitch, in administration, in
coaching and sport education and through the mediaUse the appeal of football to tackle societal discriminationTo foster networking and exchange of good practice transnationallyTo
undertake activities to capacity build and empower marginalized and
discriminated groups, in particular young people, migrants, ethnic
minorities, members of the LGBT communities and women.

Where do they get their money from

Funding has come from the European Commission, UEFA and smaller bodies such as Stand Up Speak Up, a campaign launched by Thierry Henry and Nike to fight racism.

Did FARE have anyone at the match

No. They operate as a conduit for complaints of racism.

So why are they getting involved

Despite having no direct experience of the chanting, FARE claim they are duty bound to lodge a complaint after collating evidence sent to them and after studying media reports of the match.

And why do they think the chant was racist

That is far from clear. The bonfire song is sung at football stadiums across Britain without any suggestions of racism. Some suggest the inclusion of Anton Ferdinand as well as his brother Rio has turned the song into a racist attack. FARE have talked only of an ‘undercurrent of race’. Others point to connotations of the Ku Klux Klan.

What happens next

FIFA will assess the complaint next week. If the allegations are proved it is possible, but unlikely, that England could end up being forced to play their next match behind closed doors. Hungary and Bulgaria played in empty stadiums as a result of FIFA punishments.

Ouseley told BBC Radio 5 Live:
'Whether it's racist or not, it's certainly unacceptable. It's vile and
it shouldn't be part of sport. Something needs to be done about it.

'These
are the supporters of the England national team who are travelling
abroad and singing songs like that. What messages does it send out about
the type of people we are and who we represent

'The
Football Association should be taking a stance on this about the people
it wants supporting the England team, the image it wants to send
abroad.

'I've already
contacted the chairman of the Football Association and said this has to
be looked at, investigated and dealt with. Do you want to be having an
army of fans who call themselves the England fans travelling abroad,
being abusive to their own players like that, or indeed other people

'FIFA will determine (whether it is racist) but clearly we can take a stance on that. We have policies

on anti-racism, homophobia and all other forms of unacceptable behaviour. Why are we so quiet about it'

FIFA said in a statement: 'We can
confirm that FIFA has been contacted by FARE regarding the FIFA World
Cup qualifier match between San Marino and England last Friday.

'FIFA will now analyse the content of the documents and next steps will be determined in due course.'

The ultimate sanction, if FIFA take action against England, is playing a World Cup qualifier behind closed doors.

FARE, headed by Piara Powar, did not have
observers at the game as it was not expected to be 'high risk', but were
supplied with information about the chants by people who were and they
have decided to act.

The organisation is a pan-European
network that aims to rid racism from football. They also reported racist
or xenophobic incidents at Croatia v Serbia and Poland v Ukraine,
matches where members were present.

The FA did not know
an official complaint had been made when Sportsmail enquired but they
are aware of the songs.

English fans also sang about the IRA and 'German
bombers' during the World Cup qualifier but FARE made it clear the
Ferdinand chanting was the reason FIFA had been notified.

A FARE spokeswoman said: 'It refers to the racist abuse Rio Ferdinand received, along with his brother Anton.

'We don't make the judgement. We send a
report to FIFA but in the end its their decision whether they open
proceedings or not. And whether they issue a fine or not.'

An
FA spokesman said: 'We have not been notified on this matter and until
we get a full report it would not be appropriate to say anything.'

Powar told Sportsmail:
‘It’s not really the sort of thing we are generally attuned to looking
at – fans abusing players of their own country who may not have been
picked.

'Nevertheless if it happens at a game, even if the focus of the abuse isn’t there it’s still happening.

‘One
of the things we want to underline straight off is that sometimes
racism doesn’t only take the form of monkey chants or bananas being
thrown. Sometimes there are things that are more subtle at play.

‘In the end we are not responsible for
making a decision on whether England fans are guilty of racism here but
we do have a duty to report things that are said to us because
individuals have reported them as racist or xenophobic within the
context.'

Pulled out: Man United defender Ferdinand was called up but withdrew from Roy Hodgson's squad

Pulled out: Man United defender Ferdinand was called up but withdrew from Roy Hodgson's squad

Discussions: Hodgson says that if he calls Rio up again he will need to speak to him about his fitness first

He added: ‘If someone says to us, “We think
this is a big issue”, and there doesn’t seem to be malicious intent from
their perspective then we are obliged to report it.

'We have people who look at this
stuff and they have a fairly clear idea of the standards required by
governing bodies.

'It’s then put to them and it’s their process. In this
case it’s FIFA’s process. They see whether the evidence hits the
standard to take forward a prosecution.

'FIFA, in the last couple of
incidents they’ve dealt with, have shown a stronger side. They banned
Hungary and Bulgaria from playing with fans last Friday. Forced them to
play behind closed doors.

'That’s quite rare to have a major tournament
qualifier behind closed doors. The last two incidents we reported FIFA showed a very strong hand.'

FARE feel the use of the ‘You know
what you are’ chant also has a racial element, given the history of the
chant in the Terry case.

Peter Herbert, chairman of the
Society for Black Lawyers, insists the bonfire chant does have racist
overtones, adding: ‘We’re uncovering a hard core of racist fans out
there and it doesn’t take very much to trigger their abuse.

‘Some England fans, in that sense,
would claim the Ku Klux Klan are not racist. I think anybody with any
sense and understanding of how racism operates will see that this is
clearly racially motivated and is directed at him. It would not have
been said if it had been a white footballer in the same situation.’

Arsenal fans call for Arsene Wenger to resign after FA Cup defeat to Blackburn

Worst ever for Wenger: Fans call for Arsenal boss to resign after FA Cup shocker

By
Andrew Warshaw and Joe Bernstein

PUBLISHED:

21:07 GMT, 16 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:07 GMT, 17 February 2013

Despondent Arsene Wenger rued another devastating defeat as the worst season in his 16-and-a-half-year Arsenal reign plumbed new depths amid a torrent of abuse at the Emirates.

With Bayern Munich visiting north London in the Champions League on Tuesday, Wenger made seven changes for yesterday's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Championship side Blackburn but suffered another humiliation as his team were again humbled by lower league opposition.

Colin Kazim-Richards's 72ndminute winner not only extended Arsenal's trophyless drought to eight years but was the first time under Wenger's tenure that the Gunners had lost in the FA Cup to a team outside the Premier League.

Tought to take: Arsene Wenger reacts as Arsenal slumped to defeat against Blackburn

Tought to take: Arsene Wenger reacts as Arsenal slumped to defeat against Blackburn

With Arsenal's board set to review
their manager's position at the end of the season – and Wenger himself
understood to be considering his position – Everton manager David Moyes
last night emerged as a shock contender to take over next season.

Elsewhere, seven arrests were made as
a heavy police presence at Luton's FA Cup clash with Millwall ensured
there was no chance of a repeat of the hooliganism that erupted when the
sides met in 1985.

Three hundred Bedfordshire police
were on duty in the Kenilworth Road area as a 'small minority' of fans
were involved in a tense stand-off after Millwall's 3-0 victory.

Barnsley striker Marlon Harewood was
alleged to have been abused by a fan during his side's 3-1 win over MK
Dons, with the home side's manager, David Flitcroft, intervening.

Decider: Colin Kazim-Richards fires past Wojciech Szczesny to dump the gunners out of the FA Cup

Decider: Colin Kazim-Richards fires past Wojciech Szczesny to dump the gunners out of the FA Cup

At the Emirates, Wenger's postmatch
press conference lasted barely five minutes as he was bombarded with
questions about his side's continuing frailties in a season now in
danger of going into freefall.

'It's very painful and very disappointing,' said Wenger, whose
side were knocked out of the League Cup by League Two Bradford in
December.

Even when he brought on first-choice players Theo Walcott,
Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, they failed to find a way through
Michael Appleton's resolute side and were booed off.

Lifelong Arsenal
fan and Ryder Cup golf hero Ian Poulter tweeted: 'Utter crap Wenger
that's your lot you have to go, take a bow you've done an amazing job
over the years but enough is enough …'

Down and out: A dejected Jack wilshere reacts to Kazim-Richards' goal

Down and out: A dejected Jack wilshere reacts to Kazim-Richards' goal

'We had 11 international players
on the pitch at the start of the game,' said Wenger, whose side had 26
shots – 12 on target – and totally dominated possession.

'But we made a
massive mistake on the goal.'

Asked if the current season was his
worst, Wenger hit back: 'It is not over yet. For you maybe, but not for
me. It's important to focus on our next game. It's a good opportunity to
show we have character.'

Famous victory: Michael Appleton (left) congratulates Jason Lowe after victory at the Emirates

Famous victory: Michael Appleton (left) congratulates Jason Lowe after victory at the Emirates

Wenger's contract runs out in 2014
and he has so far refused to discuss a new one. If he leaves at the end
of the season, he may look to return to France.

Aware of Wenger's perilous position,
Moyes has told Everton he is unlikely to discuss his own future until
the summer when his current deal runs out.

Despite his close relationship with
owner Bill Kenwright, there is irritation inside Everton at Moyes's
tactics, which they regard as a form of blackmail to push for new
signings.

Into the last eight: Blackburn claimed a morale-boosting win, continuing Appleton's fine start as boss

Into the last eight: Blackburn claimed a morale-boosting win, continuing Appleton's fine start as boss

Rio Ferdinand coin: Football must bring in netting after Manchester derby fallout – Martin Keown

It is only luck that has stopped a footballer from losing their sight… now it's time we brought in netting to stop yobs

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UPDATED:

12:05 GMT, 10 December 2012

Sadly, throwing coins is nothing new. We shouldn't be surprised by what happened at the Etihad Stadium.

Just like a small minority of supporters shout racist abuse, some supporters have been throwing missiles at football matches for a long time.

It is highly, highly dangerous. Rio Ferdinand was so lucky his eyes were shut as he could have been blinded by that 2p coin.

Hit: Ferdinand was struck by a coin in the dying moments of the derby while celebrating Robin van Persie's winner

Hit: Ferdinand was struck by a coin in the dying moments of the derby while celebrating Robin van Persie's goal

Confrontation: A City fan makes his way on to the pitch but is held back by Man City stopper Joe Hart

Confrontation: A City fan makes his way on to the pitch but is held back by Man City stopper Joe Hart

It was the thing that scared me most of all on a football pitch. You have no control over what can be thrown at you from the stands, and you cannot defend yourself against what is coming. It is only luck that has stopped a footballer from being blinded.

Earlier this season, working for ESPN alongside Peter Reid, a member of the crowd threw a coin at him which hit him just above the eye. This was at a lower league FA Cup tie so it can happen anywhere.

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

Under siege: The United defender holds his head after being struck by a coin thrown from the crowd

It leaves you feeling so exposed, particularly for anyone who is taking a corner or a throw-in. Earlier in the match, long before Ferdinand was hit, Wayne Rooney was being pelted by coins before he took a corner.

I think it's time we brought in netting to deal with this around the corner flags and certainly behind the goals. When there was fencing up at old grounds you could hear the coins hitting the fencing. It was all part of the intimidation back then but safety has to be paramount. You cannot ever completely stop it, and you cannot have nets at every ground in the lower leagues, but it will surely help as a deterrent.

Target: Rooney holds aloft a coin after being pelted with objects whilst taking a corner for Manchester United during the derby

Target: Rooney holds aloft a coin after being pelted with objects whilst taking a corner for Manchester United

CCTV should be able to capture the guilty fans but you also need crowds to police themselves, just like when dealing with racism.

The last thing we want to stop is spontaneous celebration. We cannot lose that from football. When you score a goal you're not always able to remember where your fans are. In many situations you don't necessarily even mean to celebrate in front of the away fans. Sometimes there's no time to think.

At places like Old Trafford, the away fans only get about 10 seats up in the gods so what are you to do when you score You can't apologise for the goal.

Sam Allardyce blasts West Ham fans for anti-Semitic chants against Tottenham

Allardyce blasts own fans for anti-Semitic chants and insists Hammers will act forcefully

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UPDATED:

10:51 GMT, 27 November 2012

DAVID GOLD

David Gold

The West Ham joint chairman wrote about the unsavoury incident for Sportsmail.

Click here to read his words

Sam Allardyce has condemned the West Ham supporters who disgraced the club by chanting anti-Semitic abuse at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

The Hammers manager urged the authorities to punish the perpetrators with the toughest sanctions after travelling fans mocked the Holocaust and the stabbings of Spurs fans in Rome.

He said he had not been able to comment on the vile singing immediately after the game because he had not heard the worst offences but has since watched video footage and was appalled.

Scroll down for video

Crime and punishment: Sam Allardyce says the fans who chanted will face severe penalties

Crime and punishment: Sam Allardyce says the fans who chanted will face severe penalties

Let down: West Ham fans hit a new low with their chants at White Hart Lane

Let down: West Ham fans hit a new low with their chants at White Hart Lane

Allardyce said: 'I had no idea what
had been said or done. I wasn’t prepared to comment on it having not
heard what went on. We were in a difficult position and I was not in the
best of moods. I was expecting to talk about football.

Having seen the abuse he added: 'I was
very, very disappointed to hear what went on from a small minority.
Nobody condones it. We have zero tolerance at the club and the
authorities deal with it.

'I don’t wish to hear any of that
chanting. I must stress it is a small minority. The good thing is with
CCTV cameras it’s difficult to get away with. They can be picked out and
punished accordingly.'

VIDEO: Anti-semitic chants at Spurs Fan's video captures shouts in stands

DM.has('rcpv1989298019001','BCVideo');

Asked if the chanting signalled a
return to the dark days of the Seventies, Allardyce added: 'I hope not.
We continue to do all we possibly can for it not to happen. If we punish
people in the right way we will stop it.'

Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun, who
is on loan at West Ham from Chelsea, spoke of his disappointment and
embarrassment after away supporters hissed and sang vile songs about
Adolf Hitler on Sunday.

Benayoun wrote on Twitter: ‘I have a
great relationship with the West Ham United supporters from my first
spell at the club and again now I am back on loan here. This is why I
was very disappointed to hear some of the songs yesterday and it was
embarrassing.

Embarrassed: Yossi Benayoun (right) was unimpressed with the vile chants

Embarrassed: Yossi Benayoun (right) was unimpressed with the vile chants

At the double: Jermain Defoe scored twice as Tottenham cruised to victory over West Ham

At the double: Jermain Defoe scored twice as Tottenham cruised to victory over West Ham

'But we need to remember that it was
made by a minority group of fans and I'm sure the FA together with West
Ham United football club will do everything to find and punish them.'

New QPR boss and former West Ham and Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has hit out at the perpetrators of the offending chants.

He said: ‘We don’t want to go back to what we had with all the violence in the Seventies — we can’t have that again.

‘When they get in a group it’s filth. It’s disgusting and people are supposed to stand there and take it.

‘They chant at managers, at players
and at each other and it has nothing to do with the football. They are
cowards. It’s disgusting and I keep hearing it, but it’s not right.’

Two West Ham supporters have been
arrested following the chanting. The two fans have accepted police
cautions reportedly for making Nazi salutes, while one of them, a season
ticket holder at Upton Park, has already been issued with a life-time
banning order by the club.

Aftermath: The Drunken Ship pub in Rome were Spurs fans where attacked this week

Aftermath: The Drunken Ship pub in Rome were Spurs fans where attacked this week

Three and easy: Tottenham climbed above the Hammers with this win on Sunday

Three and easy: Tottenham climbed above the Hammers with this win on Sunday

WEST HAM'S OFFICIAL STATEMENT

West Ham United are in contact with
Tottenham Hotspur to assist them with their investigation into the
conduct of a small number of supporters and alleged inappropriate
chanting during yesterday's match at White Hart Lane.

West
Ham United will take the strongest possible action against any of their
supporters, including enforcing life bans from the club, that are found
guilty of behaviour which is categorically not condoned by West Ham
United.

During the 46 games
in the Championship last season, West Ham United had zero arrests for
racism or violence, so while we are surprised to see such reports today,
we will examine any available evidence of such conduct thoroughly and
take the appropriate action.

Tottenham fans care more about football than racism, says Society of Black Lawyers

Spurs fans care more about football than kicking racism out of the the game, claims Herbert
Society of Black Lawyers maintain call for 'criminal convictions after November 20'
'Small minority' of Tottenham fans to blame for 'anti-Semitic' chanting, says Herbert
'Their love of football is greater than their desire to deal with anti-Semitism', adds SBL chief
Tottenham have refused to comment on the matter

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UPDATED:

12:26 GMT, 9 November 2012

The Society of Black Lawyers hit out at Tottenham and the Football Association after repeating its threat to go to the police over what it regards as anti-Semitic chanting at White Hart Lane.

Spurs fans sent an open message of defiance to the SBL on Thursday night when they chanted 'We'll sing what we want' and 'Yid Army' throughout the club's 3-1 home win over Maribor in the Europa League.

Despite being a club with a traditionally large Jewish following, Tottenham fans often refer to themselves as 'Yids' or the 'Yid Army' in chants during the club's matches.

Backing: Tottenham fans cheer on their side against Maribor on Thursday

'We'll sing what we want': Spurs fans were in defiant mood on Thursday

Although Spurs claim otherwise, the
SBL say the phrase is anti-Semitic and they have vowed to complain to
the police under the Public Order Act if supporters continue to use the
chant beyond the November 20 deadline it has set.

The SBL had monitors at the north
London ground on Thursday night who heard the chants and this morning it
reiterated its commitment to report any such action to the police
should fans continue their actions.

'We are not going to let go on this,' SBL chair Peter Herbert said.

'After November 20 there is a potential that people will get a criminal conviction. If they want to run that risk then fine.

'We are serious. We aren't in this
for sensationalism. We think the vast majority of Tottenham fans are
sensible and do not engage in anti-Semitism.

'It's a very small minority who obviously don't care about any offence.

'Their love of football is greater than their desire to deal with anti-Semitism.'

Tottenham refused to comment on the
matter. The London club stick by the statement they released on
Wednesday which read: 'Our guiding principle in respect of the “Y-word”
is based on the point of law itself – the distinguishing factor is the
intent with which it is used ie if it is used with the deliberate
intention to cause offence. This has been the basis of prosecutions of
fans of other teams to date.

A 'Yid Army' Spurs flag

Flying the flag: Herbert has launched another attack on Tottenham supporters

'Our fans adopted the chant as a
defence mechanism in order to own the term and thereby deflect
anti-Semitic abuse. They do not use the term to others to cause any
offence, they use it as a chant amongst themselves.'

Herbert believes the club have been
misguided over the issue and claims fans can be prosecuted regardless of
whether the songs are intended to cause offence.

'Under Section Five of the Public
Order Act it doesn't matter what the intent is of the individual or the
crowd, if the words cause harassment, alarm, or distress to anyone
watching then that is sufficient,' Herbert said.

Three and easy: Defoe scored a hat-trick in Tottenham's win on Thursday

Three and easy: Defoe scored a hat-trick in Tottenham's win on Thursday

'If a crowd of men were walking down
Tottenham High Road singing the Y-word causing offence they would be
arrested. It doesn't make sense that they can make White Hart Lane a
no-go area for law.'

Herbert ridiculed Tottenham's
statement and claimed the SBL has widespread support for its campaign
from within the Jewish community.

'We have no doubt there will be complaints (to the police),' Herbert added.

'If the Met Police say they are going to look at prosecutions then there is a good chance it will stop.

'Tottenham's statement is
indefensible. I think if you went to the United States, Canada or South
Africa and you made a statement like that you would face ridicule and
condemnation.

'It is a very sad day for English football when clubs feel they have to defend a term of abuse.'

Herbert also accused the FA of a lack of interest in the Tottenham matter.

'This is an appalling abdication of
responsibility by the FA,' he said. 'It's a complete disgrace that they
have stayed silent on this.

'There is an inertia from the FA over racism and anti-Semitism.

'You can't go and complain about racism and anti-Semitism in Serbia and then have it happening in your own back yard.'

Arsene Wenger deserves respect, not offensive songs – Ian Ladyman

Vile and unfunny: Wenger deserves our respect, not offensive songs which shame the English game

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UPDATED:

01:27 GMT, 5 November 2012

Vile chants: Wenger

Vile chants: Wenger

As Arsene Wenger set off down the touchline towards the Old Trafford tunnel at full time on Saturday, his old nemesis Sir Alex Ferguson set off after him.

With the help of a brief jog Ferguson got there just as the two men disappeared from view. No doubt a handshake and some commiseration followed. It had been an afternoon without consolation for the Arsenal manager.

One wonders too, though, whether Ferguson also felt the need to apologise on behalf of those supporters who had subjected Wenger to a new and not particularly clever line of abuse at several points during the preceding game.

To some at Old Trafford, Wenger has always been a “paedophile”.

Referring to some ridiculous internet
rumours that circled when Wenger took over at Highbury in 1996, the
Arsenal manager hears it every time he stands on the touchline at
Manchester United’s stadium.

‘Sit down you paedophile’ is how it goes. Charming. On Saturday the song had been updated.

‘Are you Savile in disguise’ was the question asked of Wenger by the vocal minority. It was a song also sung by some West Ham fans during Arsenal’s recent visit to Upton Park.

While at least providing some proof that even the idiots can read newspapers, the song will have embarrassed and irritated Ferguson.

The United manager’s attitude towards Wenger has not always been consistent over a decade and a half of rivalry. There isn’t a friendship and there never will be. He has, however, made his objections to the mistreatment at Old Trafford of one of the great modern managers very clear over the years.

Floored: Arsenal were well beaten at Old Trafford

Floored: Arsenal were well beaten at Old Trafford

Ferguson has spoken of it in press conferences. He has written about it in the matchday programme. He has even sent letters to the homes of season-ticket holders.

He and his football club have made it admirably apparent that they find the whole thing unacceptable and offensive. Sadly, none of it has worked.

Old foe: Ferguson

Old foe: Ferguson

That much was clear on Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford and indeed in Manchester city centre afterwards, as the song was repeated by groups of drinkers enjoying their weekly evening out a little too much.

The subject of what is appropriate and what is not when it comes to behaviour at football matches is moot. There has, at times, been some over-reaction in the media to some of the subjects that are turned into song on a Saturday afternoon.

Songs about building bonfires and signing on at job centres are as established and familiar as they are largely harmless.

Nobody wishes to turn a visit to Old
Trafford, Anfield or indeed the Emirates into an experience akin to a
trip to the theatre. The edge, humour and depth of feeling that has
always characterised an afternoon at an English football stadium has
already been threatened by seated stadiums, rising ticket prices and
peculiar kick-off times.

It is, however, hard to defend the defamatory and offensive rubbish that Wenger has to deal with every time he steps off the team bus at Old Trafford. Paedophilia, after all, is not very funny.

On Saturday it wasn’t just the United supporters who were culpable. No doubt they will be quick to point this out.

From the away section came the chant: ‘You’re just a Dutch Jimmy Savile.’ This one was aimed at United striker Robin van Persie, a player formally of Arsenal and once arrested – and never charged – on suspicion of rape back in Holland.

Hero to villain: Van Persie (left) was also on the receiving end of mindless chants

Hero to villain: Van Persie (left) was also on the receiving end of mindless chants

That was seven years ago but memories are long in football when it suits the cause.

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand briefly referred to the subject in a post-match interview on Saturday. He accused the Arsenal fans of having no class but then appeared to backtrack a little, referring to the songs as ‘banter’.

Maybe Van Persie is able to dismiss it just as glibly. Maybe Wenger is, too. It’s doubtful, though.

Wenger, we should note, is 63 now. He has served Arsenal admirably over the years he has worked in north London and his influence on English football and the development and growth of the Barclays Premier League should be clear even to those who are happy to deride him each weekend.

Wenger is more than a football coach. He is a man who has done much to shape our sport in its modern form. Frankly, he deserves better. Ferguson understands this. Why can’t everyone else

Racism in football – Six-point plan including Rooney rule

A Taylor-made plan to stop breakaway includes 'Rooney rule' and instant sackings

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 24 October 2012

Faced with the prospect of losing nearly half his members to a breakaway black players’ union, Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor attempted to avert such an outcome by announcing a radical six-point action plan.

Taylor made his recommendations after Sportsmail revealed that some of the game’s leading stars were about to set up their own independent body, called the Black Players’ Association, if football’s governors did not act.

The PFA proposals — which it is understood complied with direct recommendations made in private discussions with black players —include the dramatic prospect of firing managers, players or administrators if they are found guilty of racially motivated offences.

Centre of attention: John Terry was banned for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

Centre of attention: John Terry was banned for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

Taylor's six-point plan
Speeding up the process of dealing with reported racist abuse with close monitoring of any incidents.Consideration
of stiffer penalties for racist abuse and to include an equality
awareness programme for culprits and clubs involved.An
English form of the 'Rooney rule' – introduced by the NFL in America in
2003 – to make sure qualified black coaches are on interview lists for
job vacancies.The proportion of black coaches and managers to be monitored and any inequality or progress highlighted.Racial abuse to be considered gross misconduct in player and coach contracts (and therefore potentially a sackable offence).To
not lose sight of other equality issues such as gender, sexual
orientation, disability, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Asians in
football.

Taylor is also demanding an increase in the number of ethnic minority coaches in the game by adopting the ‘Rooney Rule’ — used in American football — to promote up-and-coming black managers.

The move sparked an almost immediate response from the Ferdinand family and so eased the threat of a breakaway union that could attract the 44 per cent of PFA members from ethnic minority backgrounds.

If the PFA receives support from Premier League and Football League clubs, those teams would have to interview candidates from minority backgrounds as part of the process of choosing a boss. Norwich’s Chris Hughton is the only black manager in the top flight.

Taylor said: ‘We need the football family together on this. No-one ever said racism was easy to deal with. We have got to do our best and we need the fire in the belly of a lot of young players and for them to be on board with us. If they want their own particular select group who they feel they can influence everybody more than the whole PFA as a union together, I would say they are seriously mistaken.

‘If we are not careful this will set us back years. It would not only set back the game, it would set back the anti-racist initiative.’

Stance: Rio Ferdinand

Stance: Anton Ferdinand

Kicking off: (clockwise from top left) Rio Ferdinand, Anton Ferdinand, Joleon Lescott and Jason Roberts all snubbed the Kick It Out t-shirt campaign in the Premier League last weekend

Stance: Jason Roberts

Stance: Joleon Lescott

The prospect of sacking a player, coach, manager or administrator for a racially motivated offence is one of the most striking changes proposed by Taylor. It means Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, banned for eight matches last season, and Chelsea skipper John Terry, serving a four-game suspension, could have been dismissed by their clubs instead.

For Taylor’s motion to be carried with the Premier League he needs the support of 14 of the 20 top-flight clubs. That will also apply to his call for the implementation of the Rooney Rule.

Former Aston Villa and England striker Dion Dublin supported Taylor’s plans, saying: ‘The only arguments we have are: are there enough black and ethnic minority people applying for these jobs If there are the same amount as there are white people, then there is a problem. There must be a problem in the decision-making process upstairs somewhere.

Plea: Gordan Taylor wants black players to stick with the Professional Footballers Association

Plea: Gordan Taylor wants black players to stick with the Professional Footballers Association

‘We don’t know those stats. If there are equal amounts, then there is a race problem somewhere, but we don’t know that, so it is just hearsay — there might only be five per cent of black people wanting those jobs. I think there is a lack of black people as managers and coaches.

‘There are so many black and ethnic minority players that may have been good enough to have been managers but have they applied for these jobs We don’t know. If they have and have not got them, why not It is either they are not good enough, or there is a race issue.’

Leading the way: Norwich's Chris Hughton is the only black manager in the Premier League

Leading the way: Norwich's Chris Hughton is the only black manager in the Premier League

What is the Rooney Rule

So why do people want a new rule about Wayne Rooney

It’s not about Wayne. It’s actually named after Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers American Football team and the chairman of the NFL’s diversity committee.

Why’s that then

The rule was named after him because the Steelers are well known for giving African Americans senior roles at the club.

What does it mean

The Rooney Rule only currently applies to American football and requires at least one black or ethnic minority candidate to be interviewed for a head coaching or senior operation role for a team.

Has it worked

It was introduced in 2003 and within three years the number of black NFL head coaches went from four per cent to 22 per cent.

What are the figures like over here

Only four per cent of managers in the top four tiers of English football are black or from an ethnic minority.

Total clubs in the Premier and Football League: 92.

Black and ethnic minority managers in the Premier and Football League: Four — Keith Curle (Notts County), Chris Hughton (Norwich), Chris Powell (Charlton), Edgar Davids (Barnet — joint head coach).

Bradley Wiggins: I"m like Rodney Trotter

I'm more like Rodney Trotter! Hero Wiggins wishes he had Hoy's body to go with gold

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UPDATED:

14:33 GMT, 5 August 2012

Tour de France winner and four-time Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins has achieved sporting immortality in the last few weeks, but insists he is not blessed in all departments, comparing his physique to that of Rodney Trotter from Only Fools and Horses.

The 32-year-old Wiggins grew up in Kilburn and used to ride around Hyde Park dreaming of winning the Tour.

This summer he has been embraced by the public for his sporting achievements and charisma.
But Wiggins has made numerous sacrifices in targeting his goals, including his appearance.

Rock star: Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins revels from the applause of British fans at BT London Live at Hyde Park

Rock star: Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins revels from the applause of British fans at BT London Live at Hyde Park

After appearing on stage in front of 100,000 people at Hyde Park, Wiggins told Absolute Radio: 'The one thing with an endurance sport, we aren't blessed with incredible bodies because we have to be very skinny.

'We have to look very lean and I think one of the great things about being an athletic sprinter like Chris Hoy is that you've got an amazing body to show off.

'We just look like Rodney Trotter. We don't look at all athletic.'

Wiggins is slowly becoming accustomed to his new status.

Only fools and horses: Wiggins joked he has a body like Rodney Trotter

Got it all: Wiggins says Hoy has the golds and a great body

Only fools and horses: Wiggins joked he has a body like Rodney Trotter unlike fellow cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy

He added: 'It was a bit overwhelming going out there (on to the stage at BT London Live).

'I started cycling round Hyde Park when I was a kid, so to come back here in front of a crowd like that 20-odd years on, it's brilliant.

'I'm very, very, very, humbled by everything and I love it.

'It's fantastic that a minority sport like cycling is taking such a profile at the moment, and that's brilliant.

'What's so great about it is that once the whole Olympics is over anyone can go out to the roads of Kingston where I won the Olympic Games time-trial and ride that circuit for nothing after this is all done, and there's your legacy there.'

Cool Britannia: Wiggins enjoys the spotlight after an incredible month following his Tour de France and Olympic triumphs

Cool Britannia: Wiggins enjoys the spotlight after an incredible month following his Tour de France and Olympic triumphs

Centre of attention: Wiggins

Centre of attention: Wiggins

Wiggins' route to sporting greatness began in Hyde Park while growing up in central London.

He said: 'It was the only place my mum would let me cycle round – because I lived in Kilburn – where I wouldn't get knocked off by cars, because there's a cycle track all the way round.

'Every kid when I was a kid, used to kick a football round, pretend they were Gary Lineker or Paul Gascoigne; they were in the FA Cup.

'I used to come up here and ride around in lycra as a 12-year-old and get it taken out of me and everything.

'I used to pretend I was in the Tour de France and I had the yellow jersey.'

Wiggins has been offered the Freedom of the Borough of Chorley.

Had it been Kilburn, he might have found it difficult to accept.

He
said: 'I haven't heard about that yet to be honest, but it's nothing to
write home about, is it, because the borough I grew up in was an
absolute toilet. That was the Borough of Brent just to confirm.'

Let"s hear it if you"re British – Des Kelly

Let's hear it if you're British

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UPDATED:

22:46 GMT, 27 July 2012

Let's get this straight. Everyone representing Great Britain during this Olympics is participating in a form of national service, whether they like it or not.

It’s not military duty, of course, and I wouldn’t be so crass as to draw a direct parallel, not when men and women fresh from postings in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are around us at the Olympic Park helping the spectacle of the 2012 Games to take place.

But the phrase 'national service' has meaning and relevance in a sporting context too, since every single one of the athletes draping themselves in the Union flag over the course of the next 16 days is representing this nation. And that honour carries with it certain expectations and responsibilities.

Silent minority: Neil Taylor (left) and Ryan Giggs (right) stay mum as Jack Butland belts it out

Silent minority: Neil Taylor (left) and Ryan Giggs (right) stay mum as Jack Butland belts it out

More from Des Kelly…

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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

The first is to show some respect for the flag they are here to represent. And one of the ways to do that is to sing the anthem.

The sight of Welsh players standing there tight-lipped as the camera panned along the line of the British football team at Old Trafford on Thursday night was embarrassing. It was rude, dispiriting and out of keeping with the Olympian spirit.

This is a quite simple scenario. If you’re British enough to wear the Team GB badge and represent Britain at the Olympic Games then you should be British enough to sing the National Anthem.

That just happens to be God Save The Queen. So sing it. Of course, if any Welshman or woman, any Scot or Northern Irish soul decides in a private capacity they are unwilling to do this, they are perfectly entitled to that view. One of the great freedoms this country offers is the freedom to say parts of it stink. I actually think the anthem is a bit of a dirge. See

But when you elect to represent the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the world stage any claim to be ambivalent about the concept of Team GB disappears.

I’m staggered the Welsh players — and Ryan Giggs in particular —even put themselves in such an ignoble position. Their little gesture of silent protest was clearly pre-planned. So if coach Stuart Pearce knew in advance Giggs and Co had some kind of ‘issue’ with the anthem, then the Manchester United player should never have been chosen to captain the side in the first place.

As for the skipper, if the anthem really is such an ordeal to him, perhaps Giggs might also like to review the honour he received from the Queen in December of 2007 and stick his OBE in the post back to Mrs E Windsor c/o Buckingham Palace, London.

The idea that anyone is turning up for the Olympics on sufferance or with conditions attached to their participation is infuriating. Appearing at the London Olympics for Britain is an extraordinary privilege.

What on earth was the point of
standing there like a dummy while the anthem played anyway As gestures
of dissent go, it was fairly puerile. It was hardly a Black Power salute
circa 1968. And, the last time I checked, the Welsh were not an overtly
oppressed race these days. If that were the case, Robbie Savage would
not be allowed on television.

The posturing from our women
footballers was equally preposterous. Two Scots, Kim Little and Ifeoma
Dieke, refused to join in with God Save The Queen before their midweek
victory over New Zealand.

Little told a radio interviewer: ‘I
personally probably won’t sing (the National Anthem) but we’ll be
standing there proud to represent the country. It’s just a personal
choice for me.’

For whom the Bell tolls: The Liverpool striker bagged the goal for Team GB

For whom the Bell tolls: The Liverpool striker bagged the goal for Team GB

For whom the Bell tolls: The Liverpool striker bagged the goal for Team GB

Someone should explain to Little that she has already made her personal choice. She could have stayed away; she could have chosen to stick with her Scottish allegiance rather than see it subsumed into Team GB. But, no, Little chose to be part of the team. So she should behave like part of the team.

This doesn’t often happen in other sports. The Welsh members of the women’s hockey team have no issue with the anthem. I cannot recall any dissent among the Scots in the cycling. Is football unique in its tribal arrogance

Backing up Becks

Did you see what Paul McCartney had to say
about the absence of David Beckham from the Olympic football team

The 70-year-old ex-Beatle complained: 'Some
person somewhere said: “so-and-so's playing better” – like it matters. I thought Beckham would be first choice. But some idiot decided otherwise.'

And so a showbiz star, that used to be in a decent team but has since left their best days behind them, stood up for another showbiz star, that used to be in a decent team but has since left their best days behind them. It’s the circle of celebrity life.

Yes, there are English footballers who
have declined to sing the anthem in the past. But Roy Hodgson has
changed that and even a reluctant Wayne Rooney joined in at the European
Championship.

Pearce should follow suit. No doubt some individual members of Team GB arrived at the athletes’ village under the impression they are running, jumping or throwing only for themselves. They are soon disabused of that notion.

They discover they are competing on behalf of all the proud and enthusiastic people who lined the streets for a fleeting glimpse of the Olympic torch as it passed by, regardless of wind, rain or blazing sun.

They find they are at London 2012 for the ordinary people who have scrimped and saved to buy a ticket to an event — ANY event — just so they can share in the greatest sporting occasion these isles will host in our lifetimes.

They are doing it for the tens of thousands in front of the big screens in the parks of London, Cardiff, Swansea, Edinburgh, Belfast and right across the UK; the tens of thousands in the stadia; the millions tuning in across the nation and the billions more watching around the globe. That is why the British public will cheer on competitors they might not know, in sports they don’t fully comprehend, as if they were rooting for a member of their family.

They are a part of Team GB too. That is the burden the lucky 541 who make up our Olympic team must bear.

Pegged back: Senegal left it late to equalise and share the spoils at Old Trafford

Pegged back: Senegal left it late to equalise and share the spoils at Old Trafford

Pegged back: Senegal left it late to equalise and share the spoils at Old Trafford

But football is often too bloated with its own importance to look beyond its own interests. The whole backdrop to assembling this Team GB football squad has been a story of unashamed insularity and committee-seat-saving pettiness. It is reprehensible that the football associations of Scotland and Northern Ireland turned their backs on this opportunity.

It is also quite pathetic that Gareth Bale played for his club in a pre-season tour match rather than represent Britain at the Games.

Alive and kicking

Quite how Senegal managed to finish the 1-1 draw against Team GB with all 11 players on the field was quite a puzzle.

I hear the International Olympic Committee plan to apologise to Stuart Pearce’s men for the relentless kicking they received.

The explanation is they accidentally sent a referee to Old Trafford who was supposed to be in charge of the taekwondo.

No doubt he was pressured by his club,
and Tottenham’s huffy statement that he merely recovered from a back
injury a bit earlier than expected did nothing to quell the general
shabbiness of it all.

Bale was happy to parade in the Team GB kit before the tournament. When the crunch came, he was in America kicking a ball for his club and missing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win an Olympic medal on British soil. It’s his loss. Truly.

There will be heroes at London 2012. There will be inspiring stories. For a couple of weeks, let us hope the football becomes an integral part of the spectacle that unites so much of Britain, rather than a sideshow that makes us cringe.

A billboard slogan on the way to the Olympic Park summed it up rather well for me. It is a message Giggs and the rest might like to remember. It said: ‘The eyes of the world are on London. Try to look good.’

It certainly does look wonderful. The park is stunning. The arenas are magnificent. Lord Coe has fashioned a wonderful stage for the Olympics. Now it is up to the athletes and the competitors of Team GB to make the 2012 Games a success. And give us plenty to sing about along the way, too.

Battle of Old Trafford: Team GB were on the end of some robust challenges from Senegal

Battle of Old Trafford: Team GB were on the end of some robust challenges from Senegal

Oh no, not the working class

One broadsheet columnist had a severe attack of the vapours this week.

The panic attack was induced by a worry that last night's Opening Ceremony was – and allow me to quote directly – 'in danger of becoming a little too, well, working class'.

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Thankfully, I hear his servants were on hand. They swiftly carried the correspondent to his 16th-century giltwood fainting couch, where he was fed chilled chamomile tea through a pipette and fanned vigorously until his senses were becalmed.

For heaven’s sake, who let the working class into east London

And why didn’t they warn the Daily Telegraph first The great unwashed appear to be swarming all over the Olympic Park (which was something they took great care to avoid in Beijing). Many of the interlopers may not be Oxbridge graduates either. Some have ‘community college’ written all over them.

Other ‘working class’ types are here in military uniform; others provide first aid or serve food and drink. They’re everywhere. How is this delicate soul going to survive Do intravenous drips of antiseptic hand gel exist

East End heroes: Some people claimed the Opening Ceremony would be too working class

East End heroes: Some people claimed the Opening Ceremony would be too working class

Give her gold now

The Malaysian woman, Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi, makes her Olympic debut this weekend in one of the shooting competitions. I mention this because there is a significant detail to add. She is eight months pregnant.

Does anyone else think it might be unwise to hand a heavily pregnant woman a firearm I’m no expert in this field, but at the eight-month stage it is an established scientific fact that around 97 percent of a female’s bloodstream consists of neat hormones.

Rational discussion is not an option. It is like negotiating with a grizzly bear. Random demands are issued, such as ‘I want a lemon curd, anchovy and toothpaste toastie — and I want it RIGHT NOW!’, often while sobbing, laughing and throwing a plate at the wall at the same time. And we’re still going to allow this woman to wander around London 2012 with a gun

Mum's the word: Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi is eight months pregnant

Mum's the word: Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi is eight months pregnant

Glazer family move forward Manchester United flotation on New York Stock Exchange

Glazers accelerate New York Stock Exchange flotation plans 'to avoid fans' fury'

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UPDATED:

11:08 GMT, 23 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Manchester United have shifted forward plans to float on the New York Stock Exchange and could be listed as early as next week in an attempt to raise 64million to help reduce the club's huge debts.

The club will sell shares to Wall Street investors but the flotation would leave the Glazer family in charge: the billionaire investors bought the club in 2005 for 940million taking on debt of 423million.

United – valued by Forbes magazine at
1.43billion, making it the most valuable club in world football.

United front: Sir Alex's team are currently on tour in China

United front: Sir Alex's team are currently on tour in China

Documents were filed with the US
government's Securities and Exchange Commission on July 3, thereby
making public the planned Initial Public Offering (IPO)

The club aborted a move to float on the Singapore Stock Exchange last year and will now move to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Manchester United Ltd, a holding company based in the Cayman Islands.

Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust, told Manchester Evening News: 'We are surprised that the timetable has been accelerated and can only assume it is due to the absolute panning their proposals have taken in the financial press and they want to get the IPO away as quickly as possible now and certainly before the start of the season for fear of bad PR regarding fans’ reactions.

Taking stock: United have moved forward plans to float the club in New York

Taking stock: United have moved forward plans to float the club in New York

'The terms the Glazers are coming forward with are hugely disappointing. It's a massive missed opportunity simply so they can cling to power while inviting others to pay their debt.'

He added: 'Not only is this a high risk investment, especially for minority shareholders at the mercy of the Glazers who will be looking after their own interests first and foremost.

'Worse still they’ve already declared the shares will pay no dividends.'

Fury: United fans made a concerted to force the Glazers out of Old Trafford

Fury: United fans made a concerted to force the Glazers out of Old Trafford