West Ham director of player recruitment Tony Henry has been suspended “pending a full and thorough investigation” over claims he said the club would not sign any more African players, the Premier League side have announced.
The Daily Mail claim that Hammers’ director Henry told agents that West Ham “want to limit the number of African players” because “they have a bad attitude” and “cause mayhem when they are not in the team”.
In the email, allegedly sent to an agent and a West Ham official, Henry apparently wrote: “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.”
SportsMail goes on to claim: “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 apparently 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 comments were discriminatory, the Mail claim Henry 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.”