Graham Turner has urged his Shrewsbury Town squad to demonstrate their support for the campaign to rid football of racism tonight – but will not force them to don Kick It Out T-shirts.
This evening’s League One home meeting with Yeovil is Shrewsbury’s official Kick It Out game.
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was one of several high-profile players to refuse to wear the top at the weekend as a protest against a perceived lack of strong action taken by organisations in recent high-profile racism cases.
Turner does not welcome such action but will leave the final decision to each individual.
“It will be for the players to decide,” said Turner when asked whether his entire squad will wear the T-shirts. “I will not enforce anything at all.
“I think the Kick It Out campaign has made great strides in what they have wanted to do and have taken it into schools and younger people.
“It disappoints me that we are not all whole-heartedly behind the campaign.
“I can understand people considering not wearing them, especially with the events of recent weeks in Serbia and at the top level of the game over the last 12 months.
“But, in the end, there are a lot of good people who have put a lot of hard work into this campaign and to snub them, I think, isn’t appropriate.
“I would hope all our players back the campaign and back the people who have worked hard to eradicate this problem from our game, which largely they have done compared to some of the countries throughout Europe.
“It’s entirely up to the players whether they want to express their support for the campaign by wearing a Kick It Out T-shirt.”
Meanwhile, Turner believes Town can take a leaf out of Yeovil’s book for their development.
The Somerset club were promoted into League One in 2005-6 and the Town boss said: “They have established themselves in there.
“I always think the first one or two years are the most difficult. Once a side gets established there, I think they get used to it.
“Yeovil are a side more than holding their own in League One and that’s the next step for us.”