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FA to tell FIFA no evidence of racist chanting found
The Football Association are to tell FIFA that it has found no evidence of alleged racist chanting by England supporters towards Rio Ferdinand and his brother Anton during the World Cup qualifier at San Marino last month.
England were reported to FIFA by Football Against Racism in Europe following the 8-0 victory, with a section of fans believed to have joined in the singing of a song suggesting that the Ferdinand brothers should be burned on a bonfire - a chant with alleged racial overtones as Anton Ferdinand was the target of racist abuse from former England captain John Terry last season.
But while the FA, who will be writing to FIFA, does not dispute reports of the chants, it has failed to find any proof from its recorded footage of the game.
"We've been asked to supply our submission to FIFA by Tuesday, which we will do," FA managing director of Club England Adrian Bevington said. "We have gone through all of the video evidence that our security team recorded on the evening of the game.
"I do want to make clear that while the journalists who have reported this have done so in good faith, they clearly have heard some chanting of a particular nature, and we're not disputing that, but we haven't been able to identify any of that from the recorded evidence that we've gone through."
FIFA will decide whether to charge the FA after reviewing its letter and any other available evidence. World football's governing body could ultimately decide to fine the FA or even order England to play one of their home World Cup qualifiers behind closed doors.
"It's not for me to predict what FIFA will or won't do," Bevington said. "We are dealing with a very small number in an isolated incident here. And it's not something, thankfully, that we have experienced problems with for a long period of time now.
"I certainly wouldn't shy away from addressing anything that is a problem. But, likewise, it's also equally as important that we do praise the vast majority of our fans who sometimes can be tarnished by the behaviour of a very, very small number of people."
Rio Ferdinand had originally been called up by Roy Hodgson for England's matches against San Marino and Montenegro last month but the defender withdrew from the squad due to fitness concerns. The Manchester United man, who has not been capped by his nation since 2011, instead flew to Qatar to fulfil television commitments and undertake a pre-planned fitness regime, and it is these actions that are alleged to have played a part in the racist chanting.