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Spectacular Revelations About FA's Past Policy On Black Footballers

Spectacular Revelations About FA's Past Policy On Black Footballers
By Conor Neville
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A new book on racism within football has made a remarkable claim about the FA's attitude to black players in the 1990s. It claims that the FA tried to impose a quota on the number of black the players the England manager could select for the national team.

The author of 'Pitch Black', anti-racism campaigner Emy Onoura, cites a conversation with Graham Taylor in 2000, where the former England manager told how he was hauled in by the FA and informed that he should not go beyond a certain limit.


At a function in Watford in 2000, Taylor reportedly approached Birmingham City player and victim of racist abuse Richie Moran.

Graham Taylor came up to me and said: ‘Look, I’m going to tell you something … I’m never going to admit it, I will be sued for libel.’ He said: ‘When I was manager of England I was called in by two members of the FA, who I won’t name …’ I volunteered two names. He said: ‘I’m not prepared to say, but I was told in no uncertain terms not to pick too many black players for the national side.

The Guardian contacted Graham Taylor who says he can't remember the encounter with Moran, though insists that doesn't mean he didn't say what's reported.


The author is at pains to point out that there is no evidence that Taylor, who has worked with many black players throughout his career, ever followed these instructions.

Indeed, Taylor can number John Barnes, Paul Ince, Ian Wright, Des Walker, Tony Daley and Carlton Palmer among the black players who played regularly during his time as manager.

There is no question of Taylor having acted on those instructions, but the episode raises some important questions as to how many other England managers were given the same instructions and therefore felt pressurised to limit the numbers of black players selected to play for the national side.

That such an attitude towards black players within the FA hierarchy persisted into the early 1990s has stunned many readers.

[The Guardian]

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