Sir Alex Ferguson has U-turned on his threat to punish Rio Ferdinand and is now backing the Manchester United defender to take his complaints about racism to the highest level.
The former England captain refused to wear a Kick It Out campaign t-shirt during Saturday’s warm up against Stoke City, prompting an embarrassed Fergie to claim the 33-year-old ‘would be dealt with’.
But after sitting down with his player and speaking about the decision to boycott the protest, he is now urging Ferdinand to take the matter to the FA and PFA.
“I have listened to the conviction of Rio and I think it is quite compelling. I can understand his stance,” said the Scot.
“But I think you are always stronger as a union as there’s more solidarity than as a single unit.
“The advice I would give is that he should take it up with the proper authorities, the FA and the PFA. It is only through that he will make his voice heard.”
After his outburst during a post-match interview following their victory against the Trotters, Fergie blamed a ‘communication problem’ between the pair for the fiasco.
And he is ready to back his player both on and off the pitch by offering him a rolling one-year contract to extend his stay with United.
“Rio can play for two or three years,” added Ferguson. “He has different issues from Paul Scholes or Ryan Giggs in terms of injuries over the last couple of years.
“He is not as quick as he was but that is not a big problem because his experience is important.
“We have always adopted that policy of offering one-year contracts, so we will see as the season progresses.”