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Rio Ferdinand ‘tired’ of racism in football, calls on tougher sanctions after Richarlison incident


Rio Ferdinand has called on authorities in football to introduce strict sanctions on anyone found guilty of committing a racist offence, admitting he is “tired” of talking about discrimination in the game.

The BT Sport pundit said he was “disappointing, disgusted and tired” after Tottenham player Richarlison had a banana thrown at him while he was representing Brazil on international duty in midweek.

The Tottenham and Brazil forward was racially abused while celebrating a goal during his national side’s 5-1 win against Tunisia in a friendly at Paris.

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It came after Brazil had begun the match by entering the field without stars on their shirts, an anti-racism gesture that sought to highlight the contribution black players have made to their considerable footballing successes as a nation.

A tweet from Richarlison after the match said that racism is happening “every day and everywhere”, with the 25-year-old suggesting that governing bodies had been too lenient on discriminatory behaviour in the past.

FIFA are investigating the incident, insisting in a statement that they had a “clear, zero-tolerance stance” against racist behaviour.

“Obviously I’m disappointed, disgusted, but also tired,” said Ferdinand.

“Tired of continuing to have these conversations. Tired of players being subjected to this type of abuse. And I just feel it’s about time that the powers that run the game put sanctions in place so that people are punished in the right way that actually discourages people from wanting to do this.

“We don’t want to keeping wakening up in the morning seeing this, having to answer questions to our kids about this stuff. We want to answer questions on ‘how is he so good, how has he scored that goal?’. Not about why there has been a banana thrown on the pitch to a player of colour.

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“The sooner the repercussions are there for people the better. I think this is a bigger problem than just football, it’s a social issue as well.”

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has called for the spectator who threw the banana at Richarlison to receive a lifetime ban from football.

“Richy played with the national team, scored a goal and then what happened is incredible,” Conte said.

“In 2022 to be witnessing this type of situation is embarrassing for everybody.

“I hope this person can be banned from football for the rest of their life but then it is a situation that is very disappointing to make a comment about this.”

Meanwhile, a statement from the Brazilian federation read: “CBF reinforces its position to combat racism and repudiates any prejudiced manifestation.”

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‘Embarrassing’ – Conte calls for lifetime ban after racist abuse of Richarlison

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