Football Football

England’s FA sought to limit black players


WELBECK-CELEBRATES-DEEPLONDON, May 7- Two officials from the Football Association told former England manager Graham Taylor to limit the number of black players in his squad, a new book has claimed.

Taylor, who managed England from 1990 to 1993, has denied the claim, made in ‘Pitch Black: The Story of Black British Footballers’, written by Emy Onuora, the brother of former professional footballer Iffy Onuora.

In the book, Onuora says that former Birmingham City striker Richie Moran, who became an anti-racism campaigner, spoke to Taylor at an event held by Watford, then managed by Taylor, during the 1999-2000 season.

Moran is quoted as saying: “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.'”

Responding to the claims in an interview with BBC radio, Taylor, now 70, said: “It has taken me by complete surprise because I cannot remember anything about it at all.

“Certainly never during my time at the Football Association I had no FA people coming up to me and telling me which team to pick and to pick less black players. I would have remembered that.”

There is no suggestion that Taylor, who selected several black players during his time as England manager, acquiesced with the request.

He told The Guardian: “That is not me trying to evade it — and it also doesn’t mean I didn’t say it — but if anyone looks at my record with club and country, it would be obvious to everyone anyway that I didn’t follow what was apparently said. If anyone looks at my record, I could never be accused of blocking the way for any black player.”