London: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is facing a backlash after he criticised defender Rio Ferdinand for not wearing Kick It Out anti-racism t-shirts.
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) also defended Ferdinand’s stance, and Ferguson’s hard-line approach is at odds with the Football Association’s (FA) view on whether all players should publicly support the campaign.
However, there is no compulsion from the governing body for any player to wear the t-shirts.
Ferguson and Ferdinand met at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground on Sunday, and there are indications there will be no formal disciplinary action against the defender despite the manager’s assertion the player “would be dealt with”.
It is believed Ferguson gave a verbal barracking to Ferdinand for leaving him embarrassed after he had criticised Reading striker Jason Roberts’s refusal to support the campaign by wearing a Kick It Out T-shirt, the paper added.
Although Ferguson condemned the defender’s refusal to wear the jersey before United’s win against Stoke City on Saturday, the FA does not insist each player participates, it said.
The paper further said that the FA has a more pragmatic stance on what has now become a divisive issue in the aftermath of a series of a high-profile race issues.
The governing body vigorously supports Kick It Out and expresses a desire for every player to wear the T-shirt on request, but there is no insistence on them doing so, as the FA’s respects the individual choice of each player, it said.
It means there is no possibility of Ferdinand or any other player who refused to wear the T-shirt at the weekend being subject to disciplinary action from a higher authority, it added.
I was very emotional on the podium and I broke down into tears because this was my first Asian Games after missing the two previous Asian Games, partly because of a doping allegation in 2006 when I was innocent.