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Player's union worried recent events could deter players from complaining

Recent crowd abuse suffered by Manchester United defenders Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand could deter footballers from complaining about racial discrimination, claims players union chief Gordon Taylor. Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, said: "The big thing is with the likes of Patrice Evra - he has become a victim because he has made a complaint.

"The last thing we want is black players to feel there is no point making a complaint because they will then suffer a backlash. It is like that with a lot of other issues on equality, like homophobia.

"There is a fear that anyone who comes out and makes a complaint will receive this backlash and puts off anyone else.

"People have got to be strong and believe what they are doing is right and stand up against racism."

Taylor is saddened that after many years of strong campaigning to eradicate racism from the British game, the matter has resurfaced this season.

Taylor said: "There is an element of abuse now coming into crowds and it is not always easy to control that. There has been a backward step of late.

"But people are saying it is a return to the bad old days and I don't believe that. In the bad old days there would not have been the level of discussion that there is now.

"There are some excellent campaigns and I don't want people to think all the progress we have made in the last two decades has been wiped out. I don't want any black players to feel that has all been for nothing.

"The very fact it is so high up the agenda and taken as seriously now is a situation that just wasn't the case many years ago.

"This has just reinforced the message that we have got to keep working at the campaigns. It is an education process.

"It is something we believe in at the PFA and will continue to press onwards with. It is bigger than any player or club or the game itself."

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Dave Williams

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