World Cup: England boss Roy Hodgson left angry over 'space monkey' race row
Roy Hodgson has expressed his anger over claims he offended an England player and has rejected any suggestion of racism.
Last Updated: 18/10/13 7:54am
The unwelcome headlines for Hodgson came little more than 24 hours after he guided England to qualification for the World Cup finals in Brazil next summer with a 2-0 victory over Poland at Wembley.
The FA was quick to give Hodgson its full backing over the joke about a monkey in space, which it is believed he used to illustrate why his players should give the ball to winger Andros Townsend during Tuesday's victory.
Hodgson believes the incident has put a significant spoiler on England's achievements in the past few days, telling the Daily Mail: "Joy is short-lived in this job. The players are as angry about this as I am.
"We have just had a successful period and, although I wouldn't suggest we intend to rest on our laurels, I think we have earned the right to enjoy the fruits of our labours. Instead we get this.
"You would have to go a long way to find somebody who is less racist than me.
"I have coached almost everywhere in the last 37 years, worked with all kinds of people, so this intimation of racism - you can hardly call it a story - is so saddening.
"I admit some of the younger players may not have understood the reference to the monkey in space.
"They may not have heard the expression before but that's a generational thing. I meant "give the ball to the player who can make things happen". There was no other connotation and no offence was taken by any of the players."
Striker Wayne Rooney described the accusations of racism against Hodgson as "absolutely ridiculous", following up a Twitter defence of his manager with a statement on his website.
The Manchester United striker said: "To be honest, it's really annoying that something such as this should see the light of day.
"All the lads know what type of guy Roy is, and to try and pin some form of label on him is absolutely ridiculous.
"Roy spoke to Andros straight away, who took no offence whatsoever. Hopefully that's now the end of the matter."
Hodgson apologised for any offence caused and confirmed he had spoken to Townsend at the time and on Wednesday.
Townsend said on Twitter: "I don't know what all this fuss is about. No offence was meant and none was taken! It's not even news worthy!"
I don't know what all this fuss is about. No offence was meant and none was taken! It's not even news worthy!- andros townsend (@andros_townsend) October 17, 2013
In a statement released by the FA, chairman Greg Dyke said: "Roy Hodgson is a man of the highest integrity, an honourable man who is doing a great job with the England team. He has and deserves the full support of The Football Association.
"He has fully explained to us what he said and the point he was making to the players in the dressing room at half-time on Tuesday night. He has also explained the context in which he made his remarks.
"He has made clear there was no intent to say anything inappropriate, and he was certainly not making any comments with any racist connotation. Importantly, he has apologised for any unintended offence that may have been taken.
"Roy has spoken with Andros Townsend and a number of the players since the game and he has been assured there are no problems within the squad whatsoever.
"Additionally, the FA has not had a complaint from any squad member or player representative, and we have today talked extensively to the squad. The FA has been assured by the players that there are no problems and they understand the point Roy was making and the context in which he was speaking."
Anti-racism group Kick It Out, who had called for an investigation, released their own statement shortly after the FA, which read: "Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion campaign, is pleased that The Football Association (FA) has investigated this matter swiftly and issued its findings immediately.
"If there has been no complaint on the back of the investigation then the matter can only be deemed as concluded.
"Kick It Out acts on behalf of the football community at large and when an allegation of a racist or discriminatory nature is made, it's the organisation's role to follow this up."