LAW ABIDING CITIZEN: Di Matteo would back booting out racist players if the rules enforced it
CHELSEA MANAGER Roberto Di Matteo has promised his club would fall in line with any policies that force players to be fired for racist abuse, a position which currently is at odds with Chelsea’s decision not to sack John Terry.
Asked whether he fully backs the PFA’s six-point action plan against racism in the game, the Swiss-born Italian declined to completely support the union’s plan, drawn up in the wake of the Terry – Anton Ferdinand incident and resulting criticism of it from high-profile black players.
Concerning the prospect of a law making racist abuse a sackable offence, Di Matteo said: “It's a difficult one.
“If the majority believe that we need a law like that then, as I said, we will obey it and support it. If it will become a rule, we will play by the rules, as we have always done. As a club, we are against any kind of discrimination and, if it does go through then, we will support it.”
The 42-year-old, who won two FA Cups as a player for the west London team, acknowledged how Chelsea has been heavily criticised for its handling of the Terry affair, and the refusal to make public the exact sanctions handed down to the defender – the club only revealed it was a “record fine”.
“Everybody has an opinion and we must respect that,” said the Champions League winning manager. “We behave the way we think is right for our club and that's how we're going to go forward.”
GUILTY: Terry was charged by the FA for racist abuse and handed a four-game ban and £220,000 fine
This Sunday sees Chelsea pitted against Manchester United, the team Anton Ferdinand’s older brother, Rio, plays for. The fixture’s warm-up will be the turn of the Premier League leaders to wear the much-debated Kick It Out T-shirts.
“We are supporting the Kick It Out campaign. It's going to be an individual choice for our players”, said Di Matteo.
“We're not going to force anybody to, or not to, wear it. But my personal opinion is that we should wear it and we should raise awareness about it and show the support for it”, he added.
Aware of the hostile reception Ferdinand is expected to receive from some Chelsea fans, Di Matteo said: “Our fans have been very good, generally, very supportive of our team and respectful.
“I cannot comment on how every individual supporter in the stadium will react. But I'm sure they'll support our team and push them to a win.”
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