UK & World News
Hodgson Monkey Joke 'Should Be Investigated'
The FA has a duty to investigate comments by England manager Roy Hodgson that offended some members of his squad, according to the chairman of football anti-discrimination group Kick It Out.
Lord Herman Ouseley, a long-standing anti-racism campaigner, said Hodgson was right to apologise for using a "space monkey" joke during England's victory over Poland , but called on the FA to act or face a backlash from other black players.
Hodgson issued an apology on Wednesday night after details of his comments, made as part of his half-time team-talk during Tuesday night's game, were reported in The Sun.
In an attempt to urge Chris Smalling to pass the ball more often to Andros Townsend, among England's most attacking players on Tuesday, the England manager used a joke about a monkey and an astronaut on a Nasa mission as an analogy. Both players are black.
The punchline is that the astronaut's only purpose is to "feed the monkey", a phrase that is understood to have caused offence to two players in the squad.
Townsend is not among them.
The Tottenham winger tweeted on Thursday morning: "I don't know what all this fuss is about. No offence was meant and none taken!"
Despite this, Lord Ouseley believes that Hodgson made a mistake, and as the game's governing body the FA has to investigate.
"The situation is that Roy Hodgson made a mistake and apologised, so he has done the right thing.
"But now that this has gone public the FA has an obligation to investigate, find out the context and the facts of what happened, and make a decision on what is appropriate to do to ensure it retains its standing in football.
"All the FA has to do is look at what happened and act appropriately under its rules to draw a line under the matter, otherwise the recriminations will run and run."
Lord Ouseley said Hodgson's comments were "not a hanging offence" but that as some players had been offended the FA had to act consistently on issues of race.
The FA issued new guidelines on tackling racism earlier this year after a series of incidents.
John Terry was stripped of the England captaincy and banned for four games after calling QPR defender Anton Ferdinand a "f****** black ****" and Luis Suarez was banned for eight games for racially abusing Patrice Evra.
Lord Ouseley said: "The FA has to act because there are so many players who have been treated differently.
"... no-one is calling for Roy Hodgson to lose his job, but the FA cannot ignore it. Clearly offence has been caused because it has been leaked, and it is acknowledged that insulting words have been used."
He said that a failure to act when offence has been caused would undermine efforts to address racism within the game.
"Players have to have confidence to challenge these things in a dressing room. If the FA do not act it sends a mixed message."
Lord Ouseley's position is not shared by some former players, including broadcaster Stan Collymore.
He tweeted: "Racism is hard enough to keep on the agenda as it is without making everyone think a legitimate space tale should be a cause for offence."
In a statement Kick It Out said: "Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion campaign, recognises and shares the concerns of the parties who felt mindful to bring the comments into the public domain.
"The matter has been raised by the Chair, Lord Herman Ouseley, directly with The Football Association (FA), who acknowledges the apology made by Roy Hodgson, and now seeks an investigation to ascertain the full facts and ensure a similar situation does not arise again."