Townsend frustrated by 'silly news'

19 October 2013 11:17

Tottenham winger Andros Townsend has called for an end to the controversy surrounding Roy Hodgson's joke about a monkey in space.

Hodgson used a joke about NASA sending a monkey and a human up in a rocket to illustrate the need for England players to give Tottenham winger Townsend the ball when he was in space during the match against Poland.

The leaking of the joke has sparked a row culminating in a letter of complaint from a pressure group being sent to the Football Association demanding that Hodgson attend a 'race appreciation' training course.

Townsend told BBC Sport however: "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."

Hodgson, who apologised if any offence was caused, expressed his frustration and anger that his side's achievement in reaching the World Cup earlier this week has been overshadowed by the details of the joke he told in the dressing room at half-time against Poland.

Peter Herbert, the head of the Society of Black Lawyers and who runs the new Race For Sport organisation, today sent a four-page letter of complaint to the FA, saying it was wrong to declare the matter closed.

The letter from Herbert to FA chairman Greg Dyke states: "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.

"We are using the appropriate complaints procedure to urge the FA to provide mandatory 'race appreciation' training and 'cultural capital and cultural intelligence' training to Roy Hodgson and all football managers in the UK."

Jose Mourinho and David Moyes have thrown their support behind Hodgson.

Manchester United manager Moyes said there was no way Hodgson was racist.

Moyes said: "It should never overshadow how well England have done to get there. Qualifying for the World Cup is a great thing for any nation. One thing is for sure, Roy is not a racist. That is 100 per cent. I know that."

Chelsea manager Mourinho believes Hodgson has been unfairly treated.

He said: "He has my support, because I don't believe he was wishing to hurt somebody. I support Roy.

"He's a good man, he's a man with principles.

"I think the best judge are the players. So when the players come out to support the manager, when the kid involved in the situation comes out and supports the manager, I think no story."

Source: PA