Racist letters sent to black international footballers

Racists sent vile hate mail to members of the Irish football squad while Brian Kerr was manager, it emerged today.

Racists sent vile hate mail to members of the Irish football squad while Brian Kerr was manager, it emerged today.

Former team boss Kerr, who was pushed out of the post last autumn, revealed that a handful of racist letters were sent to some of Ireland’s top players.

International stars such as Clinton Morrison, Stephen Reid and coach Chris Hughton were targeted.

The letters have been passed on to gardaí.

Speaking ahead of a seminar organised by Sport Against Racism Ireland, Mr Kerr said the hate mail was vile and abusive.

“While I was manager of the Irish team I had to put up with a series of letters, very vile and abusive letters, about the multi-culturalism of the Irish team,” Kerr said.

“I had Chris Hughton, a very Irish black man on the staff and I had black players on the team Clinton Morrison and Stephen Reid.

“It was vile stuff, but it was sad really and it just shows you that there are some twisted minds around the place.”

Kerr said there was a need for Government agencies, local authorities, the Sports Council and communities to do their utmost to get rid of racism in sport.

“It (the racist letters) also emphasises to me how narrow-minded people can be at times but also the responsibility of people in sport to rid ourselves of that type of thing and the responsibility sports organisations have,” Kerr said.

The anti-racism seminar, hosted by SARI aims to improve community cultural and social relations and inform about responsibilities the Government has to combat racism in sport.

Kerr has given his support to the 10th annual inter-cultural football competition involving teams from ethnic communities across Dublin.

But the former Ireland team boss insisted sponsors needed to get involved to give the competition a leg up.

“I’m proud to be involved, to be part of this SARI group, the SARI movement, there’s a huge amount of work to be done in the future,” Kerr said.

“I would like to continue to be part of it, as I have said I want to be out having my name on top of the league as quick as I possibly can.

“The sooner someone comes in with the dosh to make this league and to give it the push it needs the better.”

The first game in the tournament takes place tonight at Dalymount Park, between teams made up of the Chinese and Polish communities.

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