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Former Newcastle and England international Les Ferdinand says the battle against racism must start from the top if it is to be won.

Ferdinand who is current Director of Queens Park Rangers insists the menace needs to be fought to a standstill.

The 54-year-old affectionately known as “Sir Les” was one of the most feared marksmen in his days at Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle and Tottenham and endured years of racial abuse from supporters.

Racism  reared its ugly head this year when black England players Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford were abused on social media following their penalty misses in the Euro 2020 final shootout with Italy.

England players too have been abused in Budapest while playing Hungary in a 2022 World Cup qualifier.

“Football has been an arena in the past where people could come and voice their opinions on your colour and throw bananas onto the pitch and walk away without any consequences,” Ferdinand told AFP at second-tier QPR’s training facilities in west London.

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“OK that’s changed and people are now being held accountable for their actions when they do things like that.

“(Racism) is a societal problem and you’ll never eradicate it from society, but we can eradicate it from football if we want to.

“But the people in the higher positions and the position to do something about it, don’t care about it enough because if they did they would do something about it.”

Ferdinand says he got so fed up he stopped addressing the issue for a long time simply because “that’s all we seem to do, talk about it,” with nothing being done.

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