Sol Campbell: England captaincy race claim stuns former FA chief

Race stopped me captaining England - Campbell

Former Football Association chief executive Mark Palios says he was "flabbergasted" after Sol Campbell claimed he was not selected as national team captain because of his race.

Campbell, 39, believes he could have "captained England for 10 years" if he had been white instead of black.

"I think the FA wished I was white," said the centre-half, who won 73 caps.

Palios, chief executive of the FA in 2003-04, said: "I was flabbergasted when I heard the things Sol had said."

In an interview on BBC Radio 5 live, Palios added: "To brand the FA like that is just an example of lazy labelling and he does the case of fighting against racism no favours by saying this.

"If you talk about the selection of the captain and the players, it was entirely down to the England manager. We [the FA] would never go anywhere near suggesting to the manager who should be in his squad or who should be his captain.

"Sol has picked the wrong argument. If he had said something about the lack of opportunities for [black] coaches then everyone would have resonated with that."

Former Arsenal and Tottenham defender Campbell, who played for England between 1996 and 2007, and was captain three times, made his claims in an authorised biography serialised by the Sunday Times.external-link

But Graham Taylor, who managed the national side between 1990 and 1993, pointed out that midfielder Paul Ince became England's first black captain under his stewardship.

"I never had any influence put on me on who to select as captain, regardless of the colour of his skin," Taylor told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I gave Paul Ince the captaincy when Stuart Pearce was injured. No one from the FA ever gave me an impression that I shouldn't have given the captaincy to him."

Taylor added: "Sol is making a real go of giving his book a good sell. I cannot go along with what he is saying."

Former England winger John Barnes also rejected Campbell's claim, telling 5 live: "I don't think Sol would have been captain for 10 years because if you look at who the captains were - Tony Adams and then after that Alan Shearer.

"Then David Beckham became captain and that was a PR exercise for the FA. I don't think necessarily it was because of the colour of Sol's skin."

Palios disagreed with Barnes's suggestion that the FA had been instrumental in choosing Beckham to skipper the national side, which the midfielder did on 59 occasions.

"It was not a decision made by the FA," said Palios, who resigned from the FA in August 2004. "The decision was made by [caretaker manager] Peter Taylor and I bet a million dollars that it was not a decision based on a commercial basis."

Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who picked Campbell 32 times during his five years in charge of the national team, told the Daily Telegraph that there was "not a chance" that any pressure had been applied on him not to pick Campbell.