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Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Ouseley: No Rio rift

Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

Anti-racism campaigner Lord Herman Ouseley has told ESPN that he has no feud with Manchester United centre-half Rio Ferdinand and has defended his position on his ''rich black players'' comment on Radio 5live on Friday which saw him criticised in the media.

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Ian Wright suggested the chairman of Kick It Out should resign in his Sun column and there were reports that Ferdinand and Ouseley were in a dispute after the defender failed to back the Kick It Out t-shirt campaign last weekend.

"I was also disgusted to hear the comments from Kick It Out chairman Herman Ouseley when saying 'I am not here to represent rich black players'," Wright wrote. "Does it make any difference that the black players are rich? What has money got to do with it? Nothing. What chance have you got when the main man comes out with rubbish like that."

But Lord Ouseley told ESPN: "There is no personal feud between myself and Rio. I don't know him, in fact I've never spoken to him, so where is this so called personal feud? As for my remarks on radio, no one seems interested in listening to the entire broadcast, instead my comments have been taken out of context.

"I did not infer that I would not speak up on behalf of rich black players; that is not the case. My point was that high-earning black players are well placed to speak up for themselves.

"They are experiencing the problems, they have the experience of the game, they have the platform to express themselves and they are articulate enough to say what they want to say, they don't need me saying if for them. That was the point.

"That, I don't think, is the insult it is being made out to be, and the way things are being distorted. I am a humanitarian. I have been asked if I would shake John Terry's hand and I said that I would if he extended his hand to me. Yet I receive offensive emails saying I am anti-white, anti-Chelsea, anti-John Terry. It is just not the case.

"I have worked all these years for a voluntary group trying our best on limited resources to tackle a major problem from the front line. I am sick and tired of the 't-shirtgate'. If the players have a grievance they should bring it out into the open.

"If they want the FA to do more, the PFA to do more, the football authorities to do more, their clubs to do more, they need to tell us that, tell the public that. I don't have the sort of role within the game to force any of the football authorities to do anything, I can only talk to them and put forward a case for change."




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