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Campbell says racism cost him captaincy

Updated: 2014-03-03 07:46
By Agence France-Presse in London ( China Daily)

Former England soccer player Sol Campbell claims he would have been national captain for more than 10 years had he been white, in extracts of his biography published on Sunday.

The 39-year-old, who won 73 full international caps for his country, including three as captain, said the Football Association and the majority of fans did not want a black player heading the England team.

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

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

Campbell, who retired from the professional game in May 2012 after being released by Newcastle United the previous year, claimed a "glass ceiling" was preventing blacks 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 said that the appointment of former Liverpool striker Michael Owen as the national side's 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 color of my skin."

(China Daily 03/03/2014 page23)