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How alleged racist abuse in West Ham Legends game in June 2023 'still affects' Anton Ferdinand


How alleged racist abuse in West Ham Legends game in June 2023 'still affects' Anton Ferdinand

Anton Ferdinand says alleged racist abuse during a West Ham Legends game in the USA last summer still affects him, after new footage was released of the incident.

In June 2023, former Hammers defender Ferdinand led West Ham Legends off the pitch during the seven-a-side tournament in North Carolina after ex-West Ham forward Frank Nouble was allegedly racially abused by an opponent.

Ten months on from the incident, West Ham have released footage to Sky Sports News that shows how Ferdinand led the Legends side off and addressed the issue with team-mates behind closed doors.

After watching the footage back, Ferdinand told Sky Sports News: "It's going to bring up old wounds, of course.

"The only way to describe it is watching Vinicius Jnr in his press conference a few weeks ago. It just takes me back to the actual incident of when it happened and dealing with it on the day and putting on a front and trying to help my team-mates, the club and the staff.

"It was to do things the right way, trying to draw on all of my experiences from my own journey with racism within football and outside of football to then going into my room that night and feeling exactly how Vinicius Jnr did. But I done it off camera and done it when I was by myself in my room. But that's the length that it takes you to.

"I think a lot of people don't realise and understand the repercussions of racism and how it can make you feel - and it isn't even just the people that are racially abused. It's people that are around it that can have a massive effect on them and it surely did for me on that day, and still continues to do so just watching it."

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Ex-West Ham forward Frank Nouble told Sky Sports News:

"It's tricky watching it back. It seems like such a long time ago and it brought back emotions I don't really want to revisit.

"It was a difficult situation for everyone involved but it happened to me personally and trying to deal with it at the time was difficult.

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"It meant a lot to be asked to represent West Ham at the tournament and I thought we did that in a good way, but the incident happening, it was a shock to the system.

"No matter what is going on in the world, it just shows there are things that need to be addressed.

"It was a situation I thought we handled brilliantly and an excellent showing from everyone involved.

"I'm still currently playing but a lot of the players are retired or still involved in football in some way, and they were like my big brothers at the time I was at West Ham, including Mark Noble. They are guys I looked up to and still look up to now so to have them around me was the best support system I could have had.

"I respect the fact Anton Ferdinand, in particular, spoke up for me. He spoke up for everyone that represents West Ham and people in football. Society has an issue still but every is trying their best to make everyone feel as one and we felt the outcome was what we wanted."

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West Ham forward Michail Antonio told Sky Sports News:

"To be honest, I'm not surprised by it [the Legends game]. The one thing in football, especially when playing abroad, there's always going to be a bit of racism coming around.

"I do feel like there needs to be more zero tolerance around it. I don't feel like there's enough punishment when it comes to racism. If it happens in the stands then points deducted.

"When things keep on happening you now become numb to it so it's got to the stage where in my life it's happened so often and you see it so often that I've now become numb to it. It just becomes another thing that's happening every day. It's just part and parcel of life now. When, to be fair, at this day and age, it shouldn't be."

On UEFA's three-step protocol: "I think zero tolerance. If you give people a chance, they're always going to take it. Every single person and every time you give someone an opportunity people are going to fight for the opportunity.

"If it's zero tolerance and as soon as it's happened, the players have their opportunity to do what they want to do then there's more of a chance that things will happen and things will slow down. The fact they've got a chance then people are always going to take the chance because I'm going to do it and you're going to give me a warning, but I've got away with it because I've done it, so the warning makes no sense."

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Online Reporting Form | Kick It Out

Kick It Out is football's equality and inclusion organisation - working throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.


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29 of May 2024