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FA gives England fans all clear

The Football Association have found no evidence of racist chanting during England’s World Cup qualifying win over San Marino last month.

Footballing governing body FIFA asked the English FA for a report into the incident after Fans Against Racism in Europe (FARE) reported England over an alleged chant aimed at Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and his brother Anton.

The 34-year-old centre-back became a target for the boo boys after withdrawing from Roy Hodgson’s squad ahead of the game due to concerns over his ability to follow a pre-prepared fitness program, but director of communications Adrian Bevington stated they had found nothing to prove the songs were racially motivated.

“We’ve been asked by FIFA to make a submission by Tuesday,” Bevington said.

“We’ve spent the time since the game in San Marino going through the video evidence that we obtained from our security team.

“We have not been able to identify any individuals or any recorded evidence of racial abuse or abuse of a particular nature being sung.

“I do want to make clear that that is not to dispute the reports of journalists who have acted with faith and integrity – and in saying that it’s important we respect the right of people to report what they have heard in good faith.

“However, without the actual evidence recorded it’s difficult to take anything further. We will of course do anything moving forwards if there is anyone who does have evidence that we can prove against people.

“There is one more point I’d like to make – that is whilst we are talking about a very small group of people in the game against San Marino the behaviour of our fans generally over the past decade has been outstanding.

“We take huge amounts of fans all over the world and whilst we have to be vigilant – and one offence is one too many – we have to praise the vast majority of official England fans who travel abroad in large numbers at great expense.”

Mon 8 April, 2013
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