West Ham United have suspended Tony Henry and will conduct a "full and thorough investigation" into their director of player recruitment after he was accused of racism following his comments about African players.
In a shocking interview with the Daily Mail, Henry, who is alleged by the publication to have e-mailed and agent to make them aware that the Hammers do not want to sign any more African players, insinuated that his stance was supported by the powers that be in east London and suggested that footballers of African descent have a "bad attitude" and "cause mayhem" when they are not selected.
Henry then tried to clarify his comments, citing the departed Diafra Sakho as a reason for his view on African footballers: "I mean, look, there are top African players. There's not a problem with them. It's just sometimes they cause a lot of problems when they are not playing, as we had with Diafra. He's left, so great. It's nothing personal at all."
Henry stressed his opinion over African players is not racially charged or intentionally discriminatory, but West Ham have understandably decided to suspend the recruitment chief due to the "serious nature" of his comments and will now undergo a thorough investigation before taking further action.
A brief statement on West Ham's official website read: "The club can confirm that Director of Player Recruitment Tony Henry has been suspended pending a full and thorough investigation. West Ham United will not tolerate any type of discrimination and has, therefore, acted swiftly due to the serious nature of these claims.
"The West Ham United family is an inclusive one where, regardless of gender, age, ability, race, religion or sexual orientation, everybody feels welcome and included.
"The club will make no further comment until the investigation has been concluded."
Along with Senegal international Sakho, West Ham also sold Ghana star Andre Ayew to Swansea City in January. The Irons currently have six players of African descent in their first-team squad: new signing Joao Mario and Angelo Ogbonna are eligible to play for African countries but have chosen to represent Portugal and Italy internationally, while Pedro Obiang, Arthur Masuaku, Edimilison Fernandes and Cheikhou Kouyate all have ties to the continent.