headline news again for all the wrong reasons

West Ham United have left themselves open to accusations of racism and potentially unlawful discrimination after telling agents in the transfer window that they don’t want to sign any more African players.

In an email printed by the Daily Mail, recruitment director to the board, Tony Henry Henry wrote of an unnamed player: ‘We don’t want any more Africans and he’s not good enough. I sent Thomas to watch him and the other lad last week and he said no. If Palace take them good luck.’

Henry then confirmed it was true and suggested it was a policy supported by club management. ‘Yeah,’ Henry replied. ‘Because we had three and we felt we didn’t particularly want any more African players.’

Asked why, Henry replied: ‘Erm, no reason. It’s nothing racist at all. It’s just sometimes they can have a bad attitude.

‘We had problems with Sakho, with Diafra Sakho. We find that when they are not in the team they cause mayhem. It’s nothing against the African race at all. I mean, look, there are top African players. There’s not a problem with them. It’s just sometimes they cause a lot of problems when they are not playing, as we had with Diafra. He’s left, so great. It’s nothing personal at all.’

Asked if he thought his view was discriminatory towards African players, Henry asked: ‘In what way?’

Asked then if he thought his comments amounted to a slight on African players, he replied: ‘No. I don’t know what you are trying to get at here. All I said was, look, we have a great lad in (Cheikhou) Kouyate, he’s brilliant, a great player for us, he’s a good lad.But the likes of Sakho have caused mayhem. When he’s not playing … he always wants a new deal. That’s all it was. It was nothing discriminatory at all.

‘I could say we get offered Russian players. I just find with Russian players that they don’t settle in England. It’s like Italians. How many Italians come and settle in England? As a club we are not discriminatory at all.If you’ve got too many, they all sit together and it becomes a situation where you can have problems. But then you can have problems with English players. I don’t know what you are driving at.’

West Ham has responded to say “We take any allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and are now in the process of ascertaining the full facts behind this accusation.”

Dicks is the man's picture

not to be pedantic, but Africa is not a race so it can't be racist. i actually think if its true about choosing not to sign 'african' players, the guy has a point. i don't see why we can't call it how it is. what i find strange though is amadou is french. african origin yes but so was Desailly but no one called him ghanaian (apart from ghanaians). my point is that if we're talking about african players especially those from the western parts, in general they are all about me, me, me. not all of them of course, but id say if a club decides against signing said players, thats entirely up to them. the work ethic just isn't there, theres a far more lazy and unprofessional approach. we could debate the reasons for this such as lack of education for a lot, but its not necessary really. id say its not limited to a lot of african players but also to south americans too. it is what it is, we shouldn't be scared to say it as it is really.

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15 users have voted.

Agree dicksy. Let's say it as it is. Or are we turning into a country unable to say anything in fear of upsetting any Tom dick or Harry. What's wrong we free speech? As long as it's not inflammatory it should be fine. I'm not racist and wasn't bought up to be either, but if someone thinks I am or accuses me of it, I just don't care. It's their problem as far as I'm concerned. Just get on with your life.

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