MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER Alex Ferguson says he would stand by his players if they decided to leave the field in protest at racist abuse.
English youngster Danny Rose was subjected to racial comments while playing for the England Under-21 side in Serbia, and was eventually sent off for his reaction following Connor Wickham’s late winner, sparking a melee between players and staff of both sides.
Ferguson said he would support his own players if they chose to protest in similar circumstances, despite his condemnation of Rio Ferdinand for refusing to wear a ‘Kick It out’ t-shirt before United’s clash against Stoke.
“I have not seen what happened with England in Serbia, I have only taken in what I’ve read,” he said after the 4-2 win over Stoke.
“But I do not think it is any different to what has happened in previous games in that particular place and in quite a few other places.
“Italy is the same. You hear them abusing black players. Do the players walk off? I would not blame them – and that could happen at some point.”
“If it was one of my players who walked off, you would have to support them.”
Ferguson suggested he would be punishing Ferdinand for the defender’s stance regarding the ‘Kick It Out’ t-shirts, having earlier criticised Jason Roberts’ decision not to wear one.
“I’m disappointed because at the press conference yesterday I said to press (that my players would wear the shirts) and it’s embarrassing to me. But he’ll be dealt with, don’t worry about that,” Ferguson said.