Sunday, 30 October 2011

Ferguson backs Evra over racism claim by Suarez

SIR ALEX Ferguson has backed Patrice Evra in his racism claim against Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.

And the Manchester United boss can hardly believe the issue is back on the agenda, with John Terry facing similar accusations, as he approaches his 25th anniversary in charge.

Ferguson revealed he spoke to the Football Association in the week as they look into the defender’s allegations.

Frenchman Evra told TV in his homeland following the 1-1 draw at Anfield: “I was very upset. In 2011 you can’t say things like this. He knows what he said, the ref knows it, it will come out.

“I won’t repeat what he said, but it was a racist word, and he said it more than ten times. He tried to wind me up.

“I won’t make a huge deal out of it, but it’s very upsetting and disappointing.”

The Uruguayan striker denies the accusation and is ‘very upset’ about being hit with the slur – but Ferguson is supporting his man all the way.

“There’s no doubt,” he said. “There’s no doubt in my mind about it either.

“The FA are doing their work on it at the moment and we spoke to them during the week. It’s in their hands.

“It’s their responsibility to get it right – there’s no doubt about that.”

The spectre of racism has reared its ugly head following Evra’s complaint and the storm surrounding England captain John Terry.

He denies he aimed an insult at QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea’s defeat at Loftus Road last week.

But Fergie – who manages Ferdinand’s brother Rio – is incredulous that in this day and age racism is back on the agenda.

“It’s surprising really. I can’t believe it, it’s 2011,'' he added.

“I can’t believe it’s an issue of any type to be honest with you, when you see the numbers of black players in our game over the last 25 years.

“It must be a rare, rare occurrence for this to surface. I can’t think of the last time this was levelled at a player.

“It’s very surprising that in modern day football that you get this, given the contribution the black players have made to our game.

“We’ve seen fantastic players here with great personalities and I’ve been very lucky to have them.

“It’s a great challenge for me to deal with different cultures over the years. Some take time to learn the language but others take to it like a duck to water.

“There are completely different issues regarding managing players these days than there was 25 years ago as all we dealt with then was English players.”

Ferguson marks his 25th anniversary at Old Trafford next Sunday and there will be three celebrations – he has invited every Premier League manager to one at Lancashire County Cricket Club on Friday.

There will also be a club dinner at United and one for family and close friends near his Cheshire home.

The Scot was not overly enthusiastic in talking about his remarkable feat – but he revealed another big change as well as the cosmopolitan nature of the game.

“Two major things have happened in the game – that’s the condition of pitches and the medical and sports science in the game,” he added.

“They have been great improvements as it’s allowed players the opportunity to last longer. It’s normal now to keep playing into your late 30s.

“Also, the speed of the game can only be done because of the condition of the pitches.

``Aldershot’s the other night was absolutely pristine. You go to some grounds where the don’t water it and let the grass grow longer to try and make it more difficult for us.

“It’s stupid, it’s wrong.”

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