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Discrimination In Football Must Be Eradicated Trom The Top: Les Ferdinand Is A Character In The Film

Les Ferdinand, the sporting director at Queens Park Rangers in the second tier, believes that more black coaches are needed.

Les Ferdinand, the former Newcastle and England forward and now director of football at London club QPR, told AFP that racism could be extirpated from football if the authorities cared enough.

The 54-year-old, fondly known as “Sir Les,” was a feared marksman during his time at Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle United, and Tottenham Hotspur, and endured years of racial abuse from fans.

Racism in football has made a comeback this year, with black England players Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford receiving online abuse after missing penalty kicks in the Euro 2020 final shootout against Italy.

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Discrimination In Football Must Be Eradicated Trom The Top: Les Ferdinand Is A Character In The Film 3

Whereas playing Hungary in a 2022 World Cup qualifier in Budapest, England players were also abused.

“In history, football was an arena where people could come and voice their opinions on your color and throw bananas onto the pitch and walk away with no consequences,” Ferdinand told AFP at the training facilities of second-tier QPR in west London.

“Okay, things have changed, and people are now held responsible for their actions when they do things like that.

“(Racism) is a societal issue that will never be eradicated, but we can eliminate it from football if we so desire.

“However, those in senior positions and in a role to do something about it don’t seem to care enough, because if they did, they would act.”

Ferdinand claims he became so frustrated that he stopped talking about the issue for a long time because “that’s all we seem to do is talk about it,” with no action taken.

He’s surprised at how frequently people ask him what his solution would be.

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“One of several examples I use is when someone’s house is broken into and the police arrive to conduct their investigation,” he explained.

“They don’t wait for the victim to ask, “What do we do next, how do we move it forward?” Instead, they take action.

“However, I am frequently asked, ‘What should we do about it?’ We’re the ones who are being victimized, so how do we move forward?’

“So that’s something I’m not sure about. We’re supposed to figure out a way to solve the problem.”

Ferdinand is also irritated by the lack of diversity in football management; only seven of the 92 league clubs in England and Wales have black managers.

“I know Sol Campbell still wants to be a manager,” Ferdinand said of the former England and Arsenal defender.

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Discrimination In Football Must Be Eradicated Trom The Top: Les Ferdinand Is A Character In The Film 4

“He had to go to Macclesfield, and no lack of respect to Macclesfield, but look at their position in the league at the time.”

“Paul Ince had to go to the same club to get an opportunity.

“You look at other managers who get on the merry-go-round and get off it, get on it, get off it, get on it.

“These guys just got on it, got off it, and it appears to be moving too quickly for them to get back on it.”

Ferdinand, like when he was a player, is not one to shy away from a challenge, and he has controlled to right what was a sinking ship at QPR when he arrived in 2015.

He jokingly compares it to “the Wild, Wild West,” where everyone “did what they wanted, when they wanted.”

All through his two brief stints in the Premier League, money had been thrown around, so he and his team had to cut the cloth correspondingly.

The club is bringing all of its teams together at a single training facility, which it purchased outright for £20 million, to end a system in which they were split up.

“Sometimes, even if you can’t touch them, seeing the first-team players train and seeing the goal you’re trying to achieve can be the best motivation for any young person,” Ferdinand said.

He contends that the five-year bond that was recently offered to fans as a way of investing in the training center, which is set to open during the 2022/23 season, reflects the club’s and fans’ ties.

They have till November 12 to put down a minimum of £500 ($685) in exchange for a 25% dividend if QPR is promoted to the Premier League within the next five years. They are presently in the Championship’s top half.

“It has always been a social club, and this is just another way of giving back to the guys who have assisted us for years,” Ferdinand explained.

“Seeing the desire for it and optimism at the dinner a few weeks ago when it was initiated tells you everything you need to know.”

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