Les Ferdinand eyes "real difference" in football after a year of taking the knee

For Les Ferdinand, football has barely changed a year on since George Floyd.

The monkey gestures aimed at Rio Ferdinand at Wolves on Sunday was just a snapshot of the racist abuse that continues to be aimed at players past and present, on and offline.

Despite the knee being taken by players across the country and the calls from players to see themselves represented in authority there are still no black men on the boards of the FA, the Premier League and the EFL.

There are also still zero black referees in the top-flight with Uriah Rennie, who took charge of his final game of his career in 2008, the only one.

Les Ferdinand is currently Director of Football at Queen's Park Rangers
Les Ferdinand is currently Director of Football at Queen’s Park Rangers

“With the taking of the knee, I understand it was a powerful gesture at the beginning,” said the QPR Technical Director. “But my worry was that that was all it was going to be – a powerful gesture.

“I want to see action and this is something I’ve been talking about for 30 years. We are still having the same conversations.

“We are still looking at industries and asking: ‘Where’s the real difference?’

“Yes, people are talking in a politically correct way but where’s the action? That’s all I’m asking.”

Joel Mannix, one of the few black referees in the English game, believes there is a lack of will from the PGMOL (Professional Game and Match Officials Limited) to give opportunities to the many Black and Asian officials capable of taking charge of matches in the top four divisions.

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“They are not interested,” he said. “We’ve had meeting after meeting, conversation after conversation. Nothing is happening and eventually you start to realise that the will isn’t there.

“We will keep screaming until we get some sort of change because we can’t keep pretending the situation is not as dire as it has been for a long, long time.”



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