West Ham investigated by FA over anti-African email

February 1, 2018

Crystal Palace's Luka Mlivojevic, left falls as he vies for the ball with West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate during their English Premier League soccer match between West Ham United and Crystal Palace at the London stadium in London, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON (AP) — The English Football Association opened a racism investigation into West Ham on Thursday after its player recruitment director was quoting as telling agents the Premier League club would not sign any more African players.

Tony Henry claimed the restrictions on recruiting African players was because “they have a bad attitude” and “cause mayhem” when they are not in the team, according to the email sent on Saturday and reported by the Daily Mail.

The newspaper’s report prompted West Ham to suspend Henry pending “a full and thorough investigation,” but both the club and the individual are now being looked into by soccer authorities.

“West Ham United will not tolerate any type of discrimination and has, therefore, acted swiftly due to the serious nature of these claims,” the east London club said in a statement. “The West Ham United family is an inclusive one where, regardless of gender, age, ability, race, religion or sexual orientation, everybody feels welcome and included.”

Henry insisted the policy had “nothing against the African race at all.”

The players’ union said West Ham’s swift action against Henry was “encouraging.”

“We trust they will deal with this in keeping with football’s position on all matters of equality and anti-racism,” the Professional Footballers’ Association said.

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