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England reported to FIFA by FARE for fans 'racist' songs about the Ferdinand brothers

Updated: Thursday, 28 Mar 2013 20:19 | Comments

Rio Ferdinand has received plenty of abuse from the terraces at club level and now his country's supporters have turned on the Man United centre-half
Rio Ferdinand has received plenty of abuse from the terraces at club level and now his country's supporters have turned on the Man United centre-half

England have been reported to FIFA by anti-racism body FARE after fans sang abusive songs about Rio and Anton Ferdinand during the match against San Marino.

A number of England supporters joined in the singing of a song suggesting the brothers should be burned on a bonfire - it has been suggested the song had racist overtones because Anton Ferdinand was the target of racist abuse from former England captain John Terry.

Rio Ferdinand was vilified by fans after withdrawing from the England squad to play the game because it did not fit in with his "intricate" and "pre-planned" training programme, although he then travelled to Qatar to commentate on England's 8-0 victory.

FARE's executive director Piara Powar told the Press Association: "Although we did not have observers at the match we have pulled together evidence sent to us including media comment and have passed that on to FIFA.

"I think that it's one of those things that is very subtle. 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.

"From the reports we have seen I personally think there was an undercurrent of race there, and other people have thought that it has been imbued with racist overtones.

"Whether FIFA think that is strong enough to take action is another question entirely and we accept that it is certainly an unusual report."

FARE have also reported racist or xenophobic incidents at the Croatia v Serbia and Poland v Ukraine matches.

An English Football Association spokesman claimed the organisation has received no official notification of any complaint.

Meanwhile, UEFA has recommended that referees stop matches when there are incidents of racism and says it will "fully support" them if they follow its advice.

In a resolution issued in conjunction with the European Clubs Association (ECA) and the world players' union FIFPro, European soccer's governing body reminded referees that they had been authorisied four years ago to stop matches in case of serious racism incidents from the stands or on the pitch.

The resolution also called on coaches and players to speak out "even if it meant criticising their own players and fans".

Elsewhere, European soccer boss Michel Platini has stated that he is opposed to the resurrection of the old Soviet league, including elite Russian and Ukrainian teams.

"It's a very difficult issue but I'm not very much in favour of it," Platini told a news conference on Thursday after UEFA's executive committee meeting in Sofia.

In December, several top Russian clubs including champions Zenit St Petersburg, big spenders Anzhi Makhachkala and CSKA Moscow unveiled a plan to break away from Russia's top flight and start a multi-national league of up to 16 teams next year.

The plan called for six or seven elite Russian clubs such as Zenit, Anzhi, CSKA and their Moscow rivals Spartak, Dynamo and Lokomotiv to join four or five top Ukrainian teams including Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kiev, plus one or two from Belarus, Armenia or Azerbaijan to make up the new CIS league.

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