Great Britain

Rio Ferdinand tells English football chiefs to cut the ‘b*****ks’ and give black players a voice

RIO FERDINAND has urged English football to cut through the “b*****ks” — and give black voices a say in the game.

The former England defender, 41, believes a “glass ceiling” prevents non-white players from getting key off-field roles at the higher levels.

And Ferdinand has admitted he would be open to an approach from organisations like the FA to bring in the change needed.

He said: “On the pitch, it’s very very diverse.

“We have black players, players of all different backgrounds out on the pitch.

“But that’s not reflected anywhere else in the game.

“That has to come from underneath but also it has to come from the top as well. It can’t just come from one way.

“There needs to be people in the boardrooms who say ‘OK I’m willing to open the doors, I’m going to put my neck out and say I want you to come into the boardroom’.

“That would show people there is a way into boardrooms or into the upper echelons of the game.

“But I don’t think these organisations really draw enough on the experience and knowledge of people of colour who have been through the system. That’s a fact.

“They’re not put in positions where they’re taken seriously.”

Ferdinand was speaking at the launch of BT’s new ‘4-3-3 Strategy’ involving all four Home Nations.

The former West Ham, Leeds and Manchester United man agreed diversity programmes have ended up being “just b*****ks that is spouted out with no foundation”.


But now Ferdinand feels he is ready to lead the way forward.

He added: “If the right situation came in front of me, I would definitely do that.

“I’ve spoken to different people and organisations and for whatever reason it hasn’t materialised.

“There are so many players of different backgrounds and cultures who have played over the years, but are they being given opportunities? I don’t think they are.

“If you’re going to talk to a generation of people about racism, it’s going to be digested a lot quicker, a lot more clearly, when the person talking about it has that experience and knows about it first hand.

“So getting BAME people on board would be a definite step in the right direction.

“Have the representation where it’s taken seriously and has a voice that people act upon. Then change will arrive.”

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