‘I’ll back my black players if they walk off,’ says Ferguson following ‘Rio walkout’

Updated: Oct 21, 2012, 15:27 PM IST

London: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has said that he would back any of his black players walking off the pitch in protest against racial abuse.

The Manchester United boss believes the threat from the game’s black community to make a stand on the issue by halting games is real.

Ferguson’s comments come after Rio Ferdinand followed his bother Anton’s move of refusing to wear a ‘Kick It Out’ anti-racism T-shirt in protest to the perceived weak punishment meted out to John Terry for his verbal abuse.

“I don’t think it’s any different to what has happened in previous games in that particular place. There are quite a few places where this happens. Italy is the same. Do the players walk off if this happened? I wouldn’t blame them and it could happen at some point if this continues,” the Daily Star quoted Ferguson, as saying.

“If my players walked off because they felt insulted and didn’t think they were getting support from UEFA then I’d have to support them. One day that will probably happen where black players walk off the pitch,” he said.

Fergie also said that Rio had let Manchester United down by refusing to wear the t-shirt.

“I’m disappointed because I said in the press conference yesterday that every player in the country should adhere to the PFA’s request. It is embarrassing for me. We are all wearing the badges and he goes and lets us down. We’ll deal with it, don’t worry,” he said.