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West Ham fires Tony Henry after comments on African players

Catherine Ivill / Getty Images Sport / Getty

West Ham United is cutting ties with Tony Henry.

On Friday, the club terminated Henry's contract "following his unacceptable comments that were widely reported in the press."

Henry, who was employed as director of player recruitment, reportedly told an agent in an email: "We don't want any more Africans." He was confronted by the Daily Mail and admitted West Ham wants to limit the number of African players because "they have a bad attitude" and "cause mayhem" when they're not in the team.

David Moyes said there was no policy at West Ham against signing African players and declared the Hammers tried to sign two on deadline day.

"The comments are wrong," Moyes said, according to the Guardian's Paul McInnes. "We were signing two players from Africa on deadline day. I can only say they're wrong. We're a multinational club and we always want to sign good-quality players. You can see the players we sign, you can see the players we have signed over years. We look to buy the best available and it doesn't matter where they're from to me at all. I have never experienced prejudice in a club's transfer policy, never ever. Not at all."

Moyes insisted the incident hasn't caused ruptures within the club, saying: "I don't think it's had any effect on morale. I've spoken with one or two of the African players and they seem fine. They've trained well the last couple of days. Morale is good because we're on the back of a good run. The players are doing really well."

The two African players that Moyes was referring to are apparently Leicester City's Islam Slimani and Lille's Ibrahim Amadou. The Algerian forward joined Newcastle United on loan until the end of the season, while the Cameroonian defensive midfielder stayed with Les Dogues.

Moyes also pointed to his history of working with African players, including Steven Pienaar, who played under the Scottish manager three times, at Everton and Sunderland.

"I have never had a problem with African players. I loved working with Pienaar, Joseph Yobo grew on us, Yakubu was a great boy. I brought in Didier Ndong and Papy Djilobodji at Sunderland. And Victor Anichebe wouldn't be happy if I forgot him. I've worked with African players during all of my time as a manager. I've had good African players and bad African players. But that's no different from good Scottish, or bad Scottish."

Cheikhou Kouyate, who is from Senegal, took to Instagram on Thursday, writing: "African and proud."

The Football Association confirmed it's investigating reports concerning West Ham.

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