Richarlison incident 'disheartening' - Ferdinand
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Richarlison incident ‘disheartening’ – Ferdinand


Before the friendly match Brazil players stood with a board that read “Without our black players, we wouldn’t have stars on our shirts.”

Rio Ferdinand says it is “disheartening” that racism remains a problem in football after Richarlison had a banana thrown at him in Brazil’s 5-1 friendly win over Tunisia.

The Tottenham striker was celebrating a goal when the incident occurred in Paris.

Former Manchester United defender Ferdinand said authorities must do more to combat racism in the sport.

He described it as “another day racism is OK and welcomed in football”.

“I’m not saying football can change or cure racism because I would be an idiot to think that,” Ferdinand said on his Youtube channel.

“But when you’ve got your own kids waking up and saying: ‘Dad, have you seen that banana thrown on the pitch at Richarlison?’ It’s madness.”

Richarlison said on Tuesday that racism will continue “every day and everywhere” unless authorities “punish” the perpetrators.

“Football can play a good part in highlighting issues and standing together to make the authorities and powers that be put things in place to protect people,” Ferdinand added.

“But it ain’t happening. It’s disheartening.”

He compared reaction to the incident to the criticism Richarlison received for his showboating against Nottingham Forest.

The 25-year-old performed some kick-ups in the closing minutes of the match and was subsequently tackled by frustrated Forest forward Brennan Johnson.

Ferdinand suggested the reaction to the two incidents was disproportionate.

“There was probably as much vitriol and hysteria on social media and in the media in general with this banana incident, racism incident, as there was when Richarlison was doing kick-ups when he got smashed,” said Ferdinand.

“Let that sink in. It is mad and crazy.”

Fifa is investigating the incident and said it has a “clear, zero-tolerance stance” against racist behaviour.

Tottenham have also condemned the abuse and offered Richarlison support.

The Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) said that if the identity of the person who threw the banana is Tunisian then “we apologise on behalf of him and on behalf of all Tunisians present at the stadium”.

But Ferdinand said action from the federations is not strong enough, citing an incident earlier in September when Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior received racist abuse from opposition fans during the derby match against Atletico Madrid.

La Liga condemned the abuse at the time, saying hate speech had “no place in the league”.

But Ferdinand argued it was not enough and that racism is “welcomed in football”.

“I don’t see the federations coming out and absolutely backing these players and going absolutely against it or a big press conference being called and saying ‘we ain’t having this’,” he added.

Brazil captain Thiago Silva also said responses to racism need to change.

“It’s a shame, it’s difficult to see images like that, unfortunately it seems that we can’t change people’s mentality,” he added.

“I hope they will realise that this doesn’t work. It’s the past, we have to change.”

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