Rio Ferdinand says authorities must take more initiative to combat racism after Richarlison incident

Ferdinand said that while he understands that football cannot change or cure racism, incidents such as this create a big negative mental impact on the players and their families.

Brazil’s forward Richarlison celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the friendly football match between Brazil and Tunisia at the Parc des Princes in Paris on September 27, 2022.

Brazil’s forward Richarlison celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the friendly football match between Brazil and Tunisia at the Parc des Princes in Paris on September 27, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP/ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT

Ferdinand said that while he understands that football cannot change or cure racism, incidents such as this create a big negative mental impact on the players and their families.

Richarlison was the latest victim of racism and the incident came into the limelight in Brazil’s 5-1 win against Tunisia in an international friendly at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France.

The Brazilian had just scored his team’s second goal and was celebrating with his teammates when a banana was thrown from the crowd at the Brazilian players.

While the Brazilian football federation condemned the incident and reinforced its stance to “fight against racism,” former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said that the authorities must take more initiative in the ongoing battle against racism.

“Another day racism is OK and welcomed in football,” said Ferdinand on his YouTube channel.

Ferdinand said that while he understands that football cannot change or cure racism, incidents such as this create a big negative mental impact on the players and their families.

Fifa, which is investigating the incident, said it has a "clear, zero-tolerance stance" against racist behaviour.

The Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) also came out in support of Richarlison and issued a statement saying 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".

Richarlison's club Tottenham Hotspur has also condemned the incident and come out in support of its player.

However, Ferdinand said pointed out that just issuing statements isn't enough.

"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 said.

"It's a shame, it's difficult to see images like that, unfortunately, it seems that we can't change people's mentality."

"I hope they will realise that this doesn't work. It's the past, we have to change," Ferdinand added.

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