Show Racism the Red Card urge summit meeting after player boycott of Kick It Out t-shirt campaign

The anti-racism organisation has stated its support of the players who boycotted the campaign, and believes more has to be done by the authorities to tackle racism in football
Anti-racism group Show Racism the Red Card has urged a summit meeting to tackle the grievances of all the players, such as Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who boycotted the Kick It Out T-shirt campaign over the weekend.

Kick It Out's annual fortnight of anti-racism action began on Thursday and ends on October 29, however several high profile players, including Rio and Anton Ferdinand, Jason Roberts, Micah Richards and entire teams, including Wigan and Swansea, opted not to wear the T-shirt supporting the awareness drive, and have since come under scrutiny for their actions.

However the organisation released a statement explaining they understand the reasons why certain players chose to boycott the T-shirt campaign and hopes the footballing authorities will sit down to draw up a plan on how to move forward and tackle racism within the game.

Show Racism the Red Card stated: "We fully understand the anger of the Ferdinand family and Jason Roberts in relation to the FA handling of the John Terry case. Both Rio and Jason are long-standing patrons of our campaign and are recognised in our Hall of Fame for their work.

"The issue of not wearing the Kick It Out [KIO] shirts at the weekend highlights the displeasure of certain players in relation to the footballing authorities' handling of the incidents of racism in the game.

"We call on the players involved to now sit down with us, KIO and the PFA to draw up a plan of action to present to the footballing authorities and government."

Incidents involving Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Chelsea captain John Terry, who was recently banned for four matches for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand in a game in October 2011, have brought the issue of racism in football back under the spotlight, and prompted some of the boycotts.

However former Fulham and West Ham striker Leroy Rosenior, who is an ambassador for Show Racism the Red Card, has lambasted the actions of players who did not wear the T-shirts, and believes they were wrong to do so.

"I found it a little silly from the players," he said. "Players need to give up their time and energy to move this thing forward."

"We need the players to do more. It hasn't been top of the FA agenda for a long, long time. They have got better but they are not doing enough. But we need the players to be unified and to work with organisations to do better."

"They [Kick It Out] haven't got the authority, they haven't got the manpower and they certainly haven't got the funds, so they need players like Jason Roberts to get behind it."

Former England and Liverpool player John Barnes has also commented on the topic, but believes more has to be done to eliminate racism from society, before it can be eradicated from football.

"You can't target racism in football as long as it exists in society," he told BBC Sport. "We're trying to do it the wrong way round.

"A lot can be done but all we can do in football is target and tackle the symptom, and getting rid of racism - you have to target the cause."

Lord Ouseley, chairman of the Kick It Out group, has said he understands where the players are coming from but also urged them to speak out about their grievances, rather than boycott the campaign.

"The issue is that the T-shirts have become the story whereas the actual grievances of black players, both current and former, have not come out in the open," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"The black players who have expressed themselves by saying they are not going to wear the T-shirt are doing so because they genuinely believe there are grievances that have not been addressed.

"Those grievances can only be addressed if we confront them, not by gestures of not wearing a T-shirt, but I understand why people don't do that."