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FA seeking evidence over Ferdinand chant
The Football Association has yet to uncover any evidence of an alleged "racist" song being directed towards Rio and Anton Ferdinand during last Friday's World Cup qualifier in San Marino.
According to reports, a number of England supporters joined in with a song that suggested the brothers should be burned on a bonfire. Leading anti-racism group FARE has made a complaint to FIFA over the song, which it claims could be perceived as having racial connotations.
The FA insists it is taking the matter seriously, and is not doubting allegations that the specific song was sung, but concede they have yet to be able to verify the claims.
"While we have no reason to dispute the media reports which are without doubt made for the right reasons of fighting racism, at this time we have not found any recorded evidence of the specific discriminatory chanting referring to Rio and Anton Ferdinand and the vile 'bonfire' song," said Club England managing director Adrian Bevington.
"We will of course continue to review all of our recorded footage."
Rio Ferdinand was targeted by England fans after the controversy over his withdrawal from Roy Hodgson's squad. Some observers felt the 'bonfire' song, which has been heard at many English grounds with various adaptations, is going beyond acceptable banter.
Now the FA is in danger of finding itself in the dock if evidence of the chanting is not unearthed.
"The FA takes all incidents and allegations of racism extremely seriously," said Bevington. "In San Marino, we had FA security officers monitoring the English supporters in the stadium. This includes recorded video footage.
"We also worked closely with UK Police in advance of and on the night of the game. We recognise the importance of FARE's responsibility to report any incidents to FIFA. We will liaise with FIFA and work with them to assist any investigation.
"Should evidence of any racial chanting be found, we would expect action to be taken against any individuals. We would expect banning orders to be issued by the courts as a minimum penalty. We do not want supporters who chant vile or racist abuse following the England team."
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