A race relations group this afternoon demanded FA action against Roy Hodgson as the ‘Monkeygate’ furore refused to die down.
Hodgson today claimed he and his players are “angry” that England’s World Cup qualification has been overshadowed by controversy over his half-time comments to Andros Townsend.
Hodgson used part of a joke about an ape in space, reportedly using the phrase “feed the monkey” to encourage his players to get the ball to Tottenham winger Townsend. But the story was leaked to the media amid claims that another player was offended by what he perceived as a racist comment.
The player today again insisted he was not offended, saying: “It has all been said now, it has been in the news the last few days and I think everyone should focus on us qualifying on Brazil and not focusing on negative, silly news. The manager told the player to give the ball to me, so that is a compliment in a way.”
But, after the FA attempted to draw a line under the incident yesterday by offering Hodgson their full backing, race equality organisation Race for Sport today demanded sterner action.
In a letter to FA chairman Greg Dyke, the group said: “Race for Sport seeks to highlight the fundamental human right of those in football not to be subject to degrading or humiliating treatment. We are therefore compelled to challenge hate crime and racism in the United Kingdom and abroad.
“It is therefore right that we urge you to act upon the recent comments made by the England manager Roy Hodgson to players Andros Townsend and Chris Smalling.
“Your investigation should therefore not just be limited to the players in the dressing room at the time but what offence it caused outside to our communities.
“To announce that the matter is “closed” without any action being taken against the England manager is unacceptable and wholly inconsistent with your policies on equality and diversity.”
Hodgson has received the full backing of Dyke but the former Albion boss said today: “Joy is short-lived in this job. The players are as angry about this as I am. We have just had a successful period and, although I wouldn’t suggest we intend to rest on our laurels, I think we have earned the right to enjoy the fruits of our labours.
“Instead we get this.”
Football’s race quality organisation, Kick It Out, accepted the matter was concluded after Dyke confirmed no complaint had been made and none of the players was unhappy with Hodgson’s words. However, Society of Black Lawyers chairman Peter Herbert said he would be putting in a formal complaint before Race in Sport followed suit today.
QPR boss Harry Redknapp, who was tipped to beat Hodgson to the England job and has since been critical of his appointment, said today: “Roy Hodgson is a great guy and he’s certainly not a racist, not a chance.
“The only advice I could give Roy, and he’s been around as long as me, is to keep his message the same he gives his players, keep it simple. There was nothing racist meant about his comments, no way.”
n England have confirmed Wembley friendlies against Chile and Germany on November 15 and 19 respectively.