Updated: Sunday, 02 March 2014 23:50 | By Agence France-Presse

Former FA chief denies Campbell racism claim

Former Football Association executive director David Davies said Sol Campbell was "wrong" in thinking he would have been England captain for more than 10 years had he been white.


Former FA chief denies Campbell racism claim

Former England footballer Sol Campbell is shown playing for Arsenal at White Hart Lane in London on April 14, 2010 - by Ian Kington

Campbell, one of the leading black footballers of his generation, won 73 caps, including three as captain, said the governing FA and the majority of fans did not want a black player heading the England team.

"I believe if I was white, I would have been England captain for more than 10 years -- it's as simple as that," the 39-year-old former Tottenham and Arsenal defender said in his new biography serialised in The Sunday Times.

"I think the FA wished I was white. I had the credibility, performance-wise to be captain.

"I was consistently in the heart of the defence and I was a club captain early in my career.

"I don't think it will change because they don't want it to and probably the majority of fans don't want it either," he added.

But Davies, speaking to BBC Radio Five's Sportsweek programme later Sunday, said: "I am surprised by this because the reality is that in my time the managers selected the captain.

"I never -- and to my knowledge nobody else in the FA -- ever sought to influence them," said Davies, whose time at the organisation coincided with Campbell's England career.

"My belief is (the allegations) are wrong. I also have to say I am quite proud, along with a number of people of that era, of setting up (anti-discrimination campaign group) Kick It Out in football. 

"Progress was made, I would love to talk to Sol about this story and this concern and this upset he has about why he wasn't the England captain.

"He clearly is upset about that time and he feels that perhaps he should have been, he would believe, more seriously considered as the England captain."

Sweden's Sven-Goran Eriksson was the England manager Davies had most dealings with during his time at the FA.

Asked if Eriksson had ever asked his opinion about who should be England captain, Davies replied: "I have no recollection of that whatsoever."

He added: "Sometimes I might have been surprised who was made the captain on particular days. I wasn't surprised when Tony Adams was made the captain by Terry Venables. I wasn't surprised when David Beckham was made the captain by Peter Taylor and then confirmed by Sven."

Campbell, who retired from the professional game in May 2012 having been released by Newcastle United the previous year, claimed a "glass ceiling" was preventing black players from taking the England armband at the highest level.

"It's alright to have black captains and mixed race in the Under-18s and Under-21s but not for the full national side -- there is a ceiling and although no one has ever said it, I believe it's made of glass."

He added the appointment of former Liverpool striker Michael Owen as England captain ahead of him was "embarrassing."

"I think the FA didn't want me to have a voice. Owen was a fantastic forward but nowhere near being a captain.

"I've asked myself many times why I wasn't. I keep coming up with the same answer. It was the colour of my skin."

Campbell's three games as captain came in three friendlies -- against Belgium and the Czech Republic in 1998 under manager Glenn Hoddle, and against the United States in 2005 under Eriksson.

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