Roberts snubs Kick It Out campaign

In a week when football’s greatest affliction – racism – reared its ugly head again, Reading striker Jason Roberts has stirred up a hornet’s nest by refusing to wear a Kick It Out shirt at Anfield against Liverpool on Saturday.

The organization, whose primary aim is to combat racism in football, has planned a week full of activities to promote its cause after a series of unsavoury incidents (such as Luis Suarez and John Terry cases) in recent past has threatened to embroil the game in bitter controversy. However, despite such noble intentions, the organization seems to have lost the support of at least one footballer in this quest, as Roberts disclosed to BBC Sport that he won’t partake in any of the activities planned for the week ahead including wearing special t-shirts for the games this weekend.

The striker claims to have become disillusioned by the organization’s inability to take adequate steps in the fight against racism and expressed displeasure at the leniency of the sanction (four match ban) handed out to Terry

I won’t wear one. I find it hard to wear a t-shirt after what happened last year. ‘I’m totally committed to kicking racism out of football but when there’s a movement I feel represents the issue in the way that speaks for me and my colleagues, then I will happily support it. I think people feel let down by what used to be called “Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football”.

While Roberts has openly voiced his protestations, it will be interesting to see if there are others who will follow suit. One player who definitely will not is Rio Ferdinand – brother of Anton, the other protagonist in the Terry affair.

Rio’s manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, gave the initiative his full backing and criticized Roberts for refusing to toe the line.

I have to disagree with Jason Roberts. I think he is making the wrong point. Everyone should be united, with all the players in the country wearing the Kick It Out warm-up tops. I don’t know what point he is trying to make. I don’t know if he is trying to put himself on a different pedestal from everyone. But he really should be supporting all the rest of the players who are doing it.

Diouf launches scathing attack on Gerrard

Liverpool_Steven GerrardEl Hadji Diouf is at it again. One of the most controversial footballers in the world has picked on his former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard for some choice words in an interview with L’Equipe.

Gerrard in his 2007 autobiography had criticized Diouf over his lack of spirit during his spell at Anfield. It is evident now that Diouf has neither forgotten nor forgiven those comments and instead has paid Gerrard back with some interest.

What he said is only of interest to him. All I worried about was the Senegal team, I took them to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002. I was in Pele’s 100 players of the century. Not him. I respect him as a footballer, but there is nobody more egotistical than him.

The last statement was especially ironic given Diouf, in the same interview, would go on to claim to be a ‘demi god’ back in his homeland. Diouf was also dismissive of the ‘bad boy’ tag he had earned over a career dogged by a series of on-pitch misdemeanors like spitting and stamping.

I have done things but others have done worse. I am an easy target, people talk about me no matter what. After people gave me the ‘bad-boy’ image, I had to deal with it. Bad boy? It makes me laugh. It doesn’t bother me. I prefer that people talk about me, whether good or bad. I leave my mark wherever I go.

Galliani gives Allegri the vote of confidence

AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri has received the backing of club CEO Adriano Galliani in spite of Rossoneri’s poor run of form this season.

Milan have won just two from seven matches in Serie A and went into the international break on the back of a derby defeat at the hands of Inter. The club presently occupies a lowly 11th position in the league table and the general performance of the team has left fans and the press wondering on how long has Allegri got left before he’s shown the door.

However, Galliani was quite emphatic in pouring water over such speculation by declaring that the Milan board is supremely confident in Allegri’s abilities and it is a matter of time before the manager is able to turn things around at the club.

We are sure to come back with our current coach. We have enjoyed great success under Allegri since his arrival in 2010. We have never thought about replacing him. We have absolute confidence in him, a coach who has gained 162 points in two years, which is some achievement.

While such ringing endorsement must be music to the ears of an under-fire Allegri, the man himself would be well aware that in his profession such votes of confidence can count for very little. No matter what Galliani may proclaim, a defeat against Lazio this weekend will see the murmurs about his sacking getting a lot louder.

  • Chalmers

    I rather agree with Jason on this. You can wear all the t-shirts in the world and it will make absolutely no difference to the racist jibes from the crowd. The football authorities appear to be useless in their toothless apportionment of silly little so-called punishments and knee jerk re-actions. If they think that simply trundling out t-shirts will have effect they are pitifully mistaken. Punitive action of a major kind is called for against the fans guilty of this disgusting behavior before any improvement will be seen.