• International football

FA: No evidence of racist chanting

ESPN staff
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The FA will continue to review the case against the England fans © Getty Images
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The FA says it has found no evidence of racist chanting by England fans towards Rio Ferdinand and his brother Anton after a complaint was lodged by FARE.

On Thursday, Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) reported England to FIFA over alleged racist chanting by supporters directed at the Ferdinand brothers during last Friday's World Cup qualifier against San Marino, with a FARE spokeswoman saying: "It [the report] refers to the racist abuse Rio Ferdinand received, along with his brother Anton."

The FA, however, said in a statement on Friday that it could find no evidence of racist abuse by England fans.

"The FA takes all incidents and allegations of racism extremely seriously. In San Marino, we had FA security officers monitoring the English supporters in the stadium," the statement said. "This includes recorded video footage.

"We also worked closely with UK Police in advance of and on the night of the game.

"While we have no reason to dispute the media reports which are without doubt made for the right reasons of fighting racism, at this time we have not found any recorded evidence of the specific discriminatory chanting referring to Rio and Anton Ferdinand and the vile 'bonfire' song."

The FA also said it "would terminate" the membership of involved England fans if evidence of racist chanting were to be discovered.

Rio Ferdinand chose not to join the England squad for the qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro after being picked by Roy Hodgson - preferring instead to stick to a "pre-planned programme" of fitness work designed to keep him fit for Manchester United.

His brother, Anton, was involved in a high-profile racism case that led to Chelsea skipper John Terry being stripped of the England captaincy and later quitting the national team.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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