Cheikhou Kouyate Fires Salvo at West Ham Transfer Chief Following 'No Africans' Comments

West Ham players have sent a message of defiance following the director of player recruitment's alleged admission the club don't want African signings.

According to the Daily Mail, Tony Henry said West Ham wanted to limit the number of African players in the squad as "they have a bad attitude" and "cause mayhem" when they're not in the team.

Henry has been suspended by the club pending a "full and thorough investigation", while the Football Association has also launched a formal investigation.

On Thursday (February 1), West Ham midfielder and Senegal international Cheikhou Kouyate posted an image to his Instagram account along with the message "African and proud." The post was liked by fellow teammates Pedro Obiang (whose family are from Equatorial Guinea), Arthur Masuaku (who has declared for DR Congo at international level), Manuel Lanzini and Adrian.

The Professional Footballers' Association has also released a statement condemning Henry's views, but welcomes the swift action of West Ham.

"The PFA strongly condemn any such views and there is no place for them in football," it read. "The swift action by West Ham United is encouraging and we trust they will deal with this in keeping with football's position on all matters of equality and anti-racism."

Cheikhou Kouyate
Cheikhou Kouyate at the London Stadium, London, November 24, 2017. Kouyate has hit back at claims West Ham don't want any more African players. IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty

According to the Daily Mail, Henry is alleged to have sent an email to a senior official at West Ham and an agent about a player of Cameroonian descent.

"We don't want any more Africans and he's not good enough. I sent Thomas to watch him and the other lad last week and he said no. If [Crystal] Palace take them good luck," Henry is alleged to have wrote.

He then admitted there was a policy against African players supported by club management.

"Because we had three and we felt we didn't particularly want any more African players," he said.

Asked why, Henry replied: "No reason. It's nothing racist at all. It's just sometimes they can have a bad attitude.

"We had problems with Diafra Sakho. We find that when they are not in the team they cause mayhem. It's nothing against the African race at all."

After suspending Henry, West Ham released a statement. "West Ham United will not tolerate any type of discrimination and has, therefore, acted swiftly due to the serious nature of these claims," it said.

"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."