Fortune 'understands frustration'

Redditch Advertiser: Quinton Fortune, right, said he was not surprised by Rio Ferdinand's reaction to Terry's ban Quinton Fortune, right, said he was not surprised by Rio Ferdinand's reaction to Terry's ban

Former Manchester United midfielder Quinton Fortune says he is not surprised Rio Ferdinand reacted the way he did to John Terry's four-match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand given he was suspended for eight months when he missed a drugs test.

The Ferdinand brothers have released a statement drawing a line under the row, which culminated in them refusing to wear Kick it Out T-shirts at the weekend.

Speaking at a Kick it Out event at Old Trafford to highlight anti-Jewish issues in football, the former South African international said: "I can see their frustrations. We all know the progress that has been made over the last 20 years. But the current players can also see how stuff has been dealt with over the last few months."

He added: "Rio was banned for eight months for missing a drugs test. Luis Suarez got eight games for a racist incident, John Terry four.

"I don't condone missing drugs tests. They are the rules. The punishment is there. But when you look at it from the outside, you think something is not right."

It is expected Rio will shake Ashley Cole's hand on Sunday in the traditional pre-match greeting ahead of Manchester United's Premier League encounter with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

However, it is clear there are issues to address and Fortune, a Red Devils team-mate of Ferdinand between 2002 and 2006, thinks there is an issue over black representation on panels determining punishments.

Although there are black commission members and the FA is widening its pool of people to make it more ethnically diverse, it is believed the panels in both the Suarez and Terry cases were exclusively white.

While the FA points out that in both instances the players were found guilty and they have already stated an intention to look again at the tariffs, Fortune feels representation is an issue that needs to be looked at.

"I have learned from experience that it takes the people at the top forever to do anything," he said. "The players know what is going on. The authorities need to speak to black players and get their opinion."

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