Updated: Friday, 23rd August 2019 @ 11:02am

‘Racism is not banter’: Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand slams alleged racial abuse from England fans

‘Racism is not banter’: Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand slams alleged racial abuse from England fans

By Chris Bailey

Rio Ferdinand has hit out at England fans alleged to have racially abused him and brother Anton during the Three Lions’ win against San Marino last week.

The Manchester United defender received criticism from some quarters after explaining his ‘intricate and pre-planned’ fitness programme led him to reject Roy Hodgson’s international call-up.

And in three separate tweets on Friday, Ferdinand responded to reports that England supporters chanted a song relating to burning the brothers in a bonfire throughout the game against the European minnows.

“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,” Ferdinand said on Twitter.

“Always a small minority who ruin it for others.

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

Ferdinand’s comments came as anti-racism network Football Against Racism in Europe made an official complaint to FIFA.

FARE executive director Piara Powar said: “We would say racism and other forms of discrimination is not always banana throwing and monkey chants.

“It can be very subtle and the people collating the reports believed it is strong enough to send on to FIFA.”

Former England captain John Terry was banned for four games and fined £220,000 last September for racially abusing Anton in a a game between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers.

Picture courtesy of Илья Хохлов, via Wiki Commons, with thanks.

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