Paper Round: Anti-racism group wants Rio answers

It is the story that won't go away: with just five days to go to England's Euro 2012 opener against France, many of the papers continue to lead with Rio Ferdinand's absence from the squad.


Football's leading anti-racism group, Kick It Out, are now set to get involved and demand that England boss Roy Hodgson reveal the "football reasons" which led him to omit Ferdinand.

Many feel Hodgson's decision to select John Terry and not Ferdinand has something to do with the fact that Terry will go on trial in July for allegedly racially abusing Rio's brother Anton - but the manager has vehemently denied that has anything to do with it.

Both The Guardian and The Sun claim that his explanations have cut no ice with Kick It Out, who are now - to use the Guardian's words - "holding talks behind the scenes to decide whether to go public with its grievances" and "putting together a robust response condemning his handling of the affair".

The paper goes on: "The most likely conclusion is that it will express its feelings at the end of the tournament, when it will make it clear it believes Ferdinand has lost out through internal politics and that it was morally wrong for him to be excluded if, as strongly suspected by some, it is because Terry is charged with allegedly racially abusing Anton…

"In particular, it is aggrieved that Hodgson did not try to co-ordinate a meeting with the two players to determine whether it was possible for them to establish a working relationship during the month-long tournament."

The Sun's 'sources within Kick It Out' seem to be saying exactly the same thing - which suggests there is credence to both reports.

Most of the other papers simply round up the various talking heads which have given their opinion on the matter. Robbie Fowler is among those opining that there is "not a chance" Ferdinand has been left out for football reasons, but former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has defended Hodgson, saying that Ferdinand has struggled with injuries and form this season and that is the real reason why he is staying home.

The papers are in full Euros mode at the moment so there is not that much transfer news - but here is a round-up of the few bits and pieces that are flying around.

Manchester United have a surprising rival in the race to sign Everton left-back Leighton Baines, in the form of Italian club Napoli. However, Everton value Baines at around £20 million and do not want him to leave; that price-tag is likely to deter Napoli, who want Baines as a replacement for Andrea Dossena. The former Liverpool player is in talks with AC Milan. (Daily Mail)

Ian Holloway is holding talks with Swansea over their manager's job despite European football legends Dennis Bergkamp and Michael Laudrup also being linked with the position. (Daily Mail)

Norwich are set to launch a bid for Birmingham boss Chris Hughton. Despite the Canaries talking up a Euro-wide hunt for a boss with top-flight experience, Hughton has emerged as their No.1 choice to replace new Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert. (The Sun)

Bolton boss Owen Coyle has targeted Leicester's Matt Mills as Zat Knight stalls on a new contract. (Daily Mirror)

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce wants to bring Essex boy Michael Kightly back to his old manor. Winger Kightly was relegated to the Championship with struggling Wolves, where he made a handful of appearances after returning from knee problems. (Daily Mirror)

Finally, Danny Murphy is set to sign a new deal at Fulham. The 35-year-old was on the Premier League’s ‘free transfer’ list last week, but sources at the club insist a new ­contract is close to being agreed. (Daly Star)

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