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Ferdinand returns to Mancester United training after T-shirt spat

Ferdinand was taking part in a protest by certain black players who claimed that the ‘Kick It Out’ campaign was not doing enough to deal with racism in the game.

Ferdinand and manager ALex Ferguson at training today.
Ferdinand and manager ALex Ferguson at training today.
Image: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

MANCHESTER UNITED DEFENDER Rio Ferdinand trained as normal today, amid media reports of a showdown with coach Alex Ferguson over his refusal to wear an anti-racism T-shirt.

Ferdinand was taking part in a protest by certain black players, led by Reading striker Jason Roberts, who claimed that the ‘Kick It Out’ campaign was not doing enough to deal with racism in the game.

The 33-year-old is also thought to be angry that Chelsea defender John Terry was only given a four-match ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother Anton during a match against QPR last year.

After the United centre-back declined to wear a Kick It Out T-shirt prior to United’s 4-2 win at home to Stoke City on Saturday, Ferguson said it was an “embarrassment” to the club, and promised that he would be “dealt with”.

However, reports in several British newspapers claimed the pair had resolved their differences of opinion in a meeting on Sunday, and Ferdinand reported for training as usual at United’s Carrington training base on Monday morning.

Anton Ferdinand followed his brother’s example by refusing to don a Kick It Out T-shirt prior to QPR’s 1-1 draw with Everton on Sunday.

Ferdinand warming up — without the t-shirt — at the weekend. Pa images.

Despite the furore, Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) chairman and Kick It Out ambassador Clarke Carlisle says it is not a matter that requires punishment.

“Sir Alex Ferguson is trying to reaffirm his unwavering support of the Kick It Out campaign and that’s fantastic,” he told Britain’s Press Association. ”But this should not be seen as player versus club or dissension from a player against their employer.

“This is about a group of players and some wider issues that transcend that relationship. We would not want to see Rio Ferdinand punished. As I said of the handshake saga, you can’t coerce any man against his will and to do so would be the complete opposite of what the campaign is for.”

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