Fifa have received an official complaint from Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) regarding racist chants aimed towards Rio and Anton Ferdinand during England’s 8-0 win over San Marino in a World Cup qualifier. It is understood that allegations are towards sections of England fans during the match, and FARE have admitted they had no eyewitnesses at the match, and that their allegations are partly based on media comments. The English FA could face large fine if the supporters are found guilty, as did the Serbian FA for racist abuse in their U-21 match against England.
FARE tweeted, “FARE has sent reports of racist or xenophobic abuse at three #FIFA WC qualifiers on 22/3/13: Croatia v Serbia, Poland v Ukraine and San Marino v England.”
“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,” FARE’s executive director Piara Powar said. “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. 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.”
Racist chants during the match were aimed at Manchester United center-back Rio Ferdinand and his brother, Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand. Rio had been called up to the England squad for the first time since 2011 by manager Roy Hodgson, but withdrew from the squad due to his “pre-planned training program.” The thirty-four-year-old was in Qatar fulfilling television commitments during the match.
A FARE spokeswomen told the Daily Mail, “It (the complaint) refers to the racist abuse Rio Ferdinand received, along with his brother Anton.
“We don’t make the judgement. We send a report to FIFA but in the end it’s their decision whether they open proceedings or not. And whether they issue a fine or not.”
The English FA has not yet made an official comment.