Jason Roberts set to snub Kick It Out anti-racism campaign

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport
Roberts won't support Kick It Out

Reading striker Jason Roberts will not wear a Kick It Out T-shirt in protest at what he perceives to be the campaign group's lack of action in combating racism in football.

Kick It Out's annual week of action starts on Thursday and players have traditionally worn shirts promoting it.

But referring to incidents involving John Terry and Luis Suarez, Roberts told BBC Sport: "I won't wear one.

"I find it hard to wear a T-shirt after what has happened in the last year."

Chelsea captain Terry was banned for four matches and fined £220,000 by the Football Association for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand in a Premier League match at Loftus Road on 23 October, 2011.

While Liverpool striker Suarez received an eight-match ban and £40,000 fine for the same offence against Manchester United's Patrice Evra following a Premier League game on 15 October, 2011.

Roberts, whose Reading team travel to Liverpool this Saturday, said he knew of other black players who were considering not wearing the T-shirts this weekend.

The 34-year-old added: "I'm totally committed to kicking racism out of football but when there's a movement I feel represents the issue in the way that speaks for me and my colleagues, then I will happily support it.

"I think people feel let down by what used to be called 'Let's Kick Racism Out of Football'. People don't feel like they have been strong enough.

"Unless they're independent, unless they don't have to explain their actions to anyone then they won't be held accountable."

Lord Ouseley, chairman of the Kick It Out group, told the BBC that he sympathised with Roberts.

"I can understand his frustrations and his anger," said Ouseley. "There are a lot of black players who are pretty fed up that [the Terry case] wasn't sorted out a year ago and quite frankly they need to get answers as to why.

"If Jason Roberts thinks Kick It Out could have sorted it out, let me tell you, if we had the power we would have sorted it out but we haven't got that sort of power."

On not wearing a T-shirt, Ouseley added: "It's a matter for him and his club."

Roberts said the football authorities had been "complacent" in their fight against racism.

And he believes that European governing body Uefa will not take adequate action after Danny Rose claimed he was racially abused in an England Under-21 game against Serbia on Tuesday.

"Uefa will sweep it under the carpet," he added, before saying it would take players walking off the pitch for any meaningful action to be taken.

"If Danny Rose, who I think acted excellently in the whole thing, and his team-mates walk off the pitch when they first hear racist abuse, guaranteed Uefa will start to change things."

Roberts said Terry's apology for racially abusing Ferdinand had come "a year too late".

He also feels the Football Association was lenient in its punishment of the former England skipper.

"The four-match ban was, for me, not a heavy enough sanction for what happened.

"I'm not happy. Certainly they should have given him a longer ban. The sanction is nowhere near harsh enough."