Racism in football

Fergie demands crack down on racism

February 7, 2012
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has demanded a hardline stance on any new incident of racism in football.

Sir Alex Ferguson sun in his eyes
GettyImagesSir Alex Ferguson's men trail City on goal difference

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Ferguson, whose side play rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford this weekend, has been shocked by the re-emergence of the issue of racism in the game, with one of his own players on the receiving end this season.

Reds forward Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing United defender Patrice Evra during a fixture back in October and subsequently served an eight-match ban.

Other incidents have seen fans arrested after allegations they racially abused players, while Chelsea defender John Terry is to stand trial in July to deny a charge that he racially abused QPR's Anton Ferdinand, brother of United's Rio Ferdinand.

Ferguson told CNN: "I don't understand at all where it's coming from. This is a moment where we have to take stock and we should do something about it if it's surfacing again, and be really hard and firm on any form or shape of racism.

"There have been a couple of examples recently which is not good. In 2012, you can't believe it. It was obvious maybe 20 years ago and the improvements have been for everyone to see. I have had some fantastic black players, absolutely magnificent black players, and with every one of them I have enjoyed my working relationship with them."

Suarez is expected to receive a hostile reception at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime, but his team-mate Glen Johnson is confident the forward will be able to cope.

Johnson said: "It is a tough place to go Old Trafford. Luis is a strong character and he will try to let his football do the talking.

"He is a fantastic player, he has had a long break now and hopefully he will be fresh and ready to put in a performance at the weekend. He is the sort of player we need in the team."