Premier League: Paper Round: Rio faces £220,000 fine for protest

Rio Ferdinand's decision to refuse to wear a Kick It Out T-shirt prior to Manchester United's 4-2 win at home to Stoke on Saturday could be a costly one with reports suggesting he will be fined £220,000 for the symbolic gesture.

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Premier League: Paper Round: Rio faces £220,000 fine for protest
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Daily Mail

While his team-mates warmed up for the game wearing the T-shirt - which promotes the anti-racism organisation's 'week of action' - Ferdinand took the decision to discard his, in direct contradiction of his manager's wishes.

Ferguson said in his weekly press conference on Friday that all of his players would respect the initiative, and was absolutely furious after the game, accusing Ferdinand of "embarrassing" him and claiming that the defender had "let [United] down".

Ferdinand's refusal to endorse Kick It Out is a form of protest at what is perceived to be insufficient punishments handed out for racist behaviour and racial abuse - most notably of course the four-game ban that his former England colleague John Terry was hit with after racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

The Sun even claims on Sunday that Ferdinand's decision to so publicly go against his manager's wishes could have repercussions for his career at Old Trafford. According to the tabloid: "The England defender will be fined two weeks’ wages of £220,000 with his Manchester United future in doubt."

A fine of that magnitude seems vastly disproportionate to Paper Round, especially when you consider the paltry fines handed out to clubs whose supporters are found guilty of racism, or indeed the relative lenience of the suspension given to Terry.

Ferdinand was also far from the only player to protest in such a fashion. Reading striker Jason Roberts - who had gone public in the week by publicly stating he had lost faith in Kick It Out - was joined by team-mates Jobi McAnuff, Jem Karacan and Garath McCleary in refusing to wear a T-shirt.

Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott has refused to do likewise since 2007 when Newcastle midfielder Emre was cleared of racially abusing his then Everton team-mate Joseph Yobo. The entire Swansea and Wigan players shunned the chance to endorse the organisation while Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph also discarded his T-shirt.

Undoubtedly, though, Ferdinand is the most high profile player to take part in the protest, and as such he is unfairly singled out this morning. According to a strong back page from the Daily Mail, his decision not to wear a T-shirt 'leaves Kick It Out campaign in tatters'.

Paper Round feels this is an incredibly harsh judgement on Ferdinand. Why should he be compelled to support a cause he clearly has no faith in? If the Kick It Out campaign has been fatally damaged then Paper Round would suggest it is not Ferdinand's fault, nor that of the multiple other players who no longer feel that the organisation represents them and their cause.

Perhaps a more balanced perspective would be to question if the game's governing bodies are treating cases of racial abuse with the severity they deserve. Meanwhile, Ferdinand's likely fine is just another example of inappropriate collateral damage in a controversy that has hung over English football like a bad smell for a year since Terry said the words "f****** black c***" to an opponent.

Incidentally, The People reports on Sunday that Chelsea will not offer Terry a new contract to stay at Stamford Bridge. This would be huge news if true, and the paper speculates that concerns over his long-term fitness, allied to his conduct of late, means the European champions have decided he is more trouble than he is worth.

Time, then, for some light relief in the form of a few transfer rumours. The Mail on Sunday reports that Frank Lampard could join David Beckham at LA Galaxy in January. This link is not particularly new, but with Lampard spending more time on the Chelsea bench of late it appears to have fresh legs.

Another man becoming accustomed to a watching brief is Arsenal winger Theo Walcott, but according to the Sunday Mirror the England international joins Chelsea's out-of-favour forward Daniel Sturridge on Liverpool's wish-list ahead of the January transfer window.

In a rather unlikely tale, The People speculates Sergio Busquets wants to leave Barcelona, with Chelsea looking to secure a £25 million deal. Quite why Busquets would want to quit the best team in the world, filled with all his best mates, in one of Europe's loveliest locations escapes Paper Round at present. Perhaps he has a penchant for T-shirt-related controversies.

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