The Guardian on the England Football Association’s latest expensive gaffe.
he FA has scrapped thousands of copies of a DVD claiming to feature the best post-war England internationals as it did not include a single black player.
The DVD, entitled ‘The Pride of the Nation’, had been included in a welcome pack for newcomers to the ‘englandfans’ official members’ club.
Sven-Goran Eriksson introduced a retrospective look at the leading footballers to have worn an England shirt over the past 40 years. But while the initial list given to video producers Octagon is understood to have included black players, none of them made the final cut as the running time was reduced to 30 minutes.
And when the complaints then started at the unwitting offence caused by the FA’s failure to check the finished copy, the governing body were forced into action.
This will involve the expense of all copies of the DVD being scrapped and a new edition being put together, featuring several black players.
Senior FA figures have been keen to rectify the situation, while stressing that the cost to the governing body will be minimal.
However, it is still highly embarrassing, especially just a few months after the FA complained vociferously at the racist abuse hurled at black England players in Madrid and stressed their own commitment to tackling the issue.
Many of the 17 players on the original DVD would be uncontroversial choices, including Bobby Moore, Gary Lineker, Sir Bobby Charlton, Paul Gascoigne, Alan Shearer, Bryan Robson, David Beckham and Terry Butcher.
However, Martin Peters, Chris Waddle, Stuart Pearce and Steven Gerrard were also included, while black players such as Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell, Paul Ince, John Barnes, Ashley Cole and Viv Anderson were not.