Thursday 22 February 2018

The fight against racism is never won, says Arsene Wenger

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: Arsene Wenger the Arsenal manager reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal at the Boleyn Ground on October 6, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: Arsene Wenger the Arsenal manager reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal at the Boleyn Ground on October 6, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger feels the fight against all forms of racism is "never won".

England Under-21s' victory in Serbia on Tuesday night was overshadowed by unsavoury scenes at the final whistle with scuffling on the pitch amid accusations of racism from the stands towards England left-back Danny Rose, which are now being investigated by UEFA.



Chelsea captain John Terry, meanwhile, is set to begin his suspension after he accepted a four-match ban and £220,000 fine from the Football Association for racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand.



Frenchman Wenger, 62, has himself been the target of vile personal abuse at grounds around the country during his 15-season tenure in the English game - the latest of which came from sections of the home crowd in the Barclays Premier League match at West Ham before the international break.



The Gunners boss insists all such insults must be eradicated.



"It is not only racism, black and white, it is against all kinds of insults we still have in the stadiums. We must fight more against it," he said.



"You look at some faces when you walk around the pitch, what they shout at you is scary. That is, for me, racism.



"You are insulted because you are not in their clan. That is a kind of discrimination.



"There is still a lot to do, but I think it's good that society fights against it.



"I am thinking that it is getting better, but it is never won."



Anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out has just started an annual awareness drive, with all English professional clubs encouraged to support it in various ways, including asking their players to wear T-shirts promoting the message that racism in football is unacceptable.



Reading striker Jason Roberts said yesterday he would refuse to wear a Kick It Out shirt at Liverpool on Saturday in protest at what he feels is the group's lack of action against recent incidents of racism in the English game.



However, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson believes Roberts is misguided.



"I have to disagree with Jason Roberts. I think he is making the wrong point,'' the Scot said.



"Everyone should be united, with all the players in the country wearing the Kick it Out warm-up tops.''



Ferguson added: "I don't know what point he is trying to make.



"I don't know if he is trying to put himself on a different pedestal from everyone. But he really should be supporting all the rest of the players who are doing it.''



As a leading anti-racism campaigner, United defender Rio Ferdinand - whose brother Anton was the subject of racist abuse from Terry - would be an obvious candidate to follow Roberts' lead.



However, it does not appear that will happen.



Ferguson added: "When you do something, and everyone believes in it, you should all do it together. There shouldn't be sheep wandering off.



"I think he (Roberts) is making the wrong message.



"All the players are wearing it. I have only heard that Jason Roberts is different - but he is very different. He plays a game and is in the studio 20 minutes after it. That is a great privilege.''



Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini indicated all his players would wear the Kick It Out T-shirts, but felt isolated use of racist words in the heat of the moment were different from sustained bouts of racist chanting from the stands.



"Sometimes, we hear some forms of racism but sometimes they are stupid things because when you are on the pitch you say one thing that you don't think. This is a different situation, but we need to work together for this," the Italian said.



"Here we are all against every form of racism. We don't need to put this (gesturing to his T-shirt) on, we are like this."



Meanwhile, a man has been arrested after a racist comment was posted on Facebook, believed to be about Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi.



The 43-year-old, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, was held overnight on suspicion of racial harassment and has been bailed until November 28.



Northumbria Police said the post has now been removed.



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