What We’ve Learned From the Cardiff, Crystal Palace and LMA Fiasco

As evident in the recent revelations of text messages between former Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay and former sporting director of Crystal Palace (also former Head of Player recruitment of Cardiff) Iain Moody, anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, and xenophobia are all still very much alive in British football. In these alleged text messages and emails exchanged back when Mackay and Moody were both employed by Cardiff, the duo made slurs against Asians, homosexuals, women, and other non-white races.  With the messages surfacing (as well as new reports tonight that Mackay allegedly called Tan a racial slur), Mackay is no longer in consideration for the vacant Crystal Palace managerial position, and Moody has recently tendered his resignation as Palace’s sporting director.

Perhaps equally as disturbing to the messages was the League Managers Association’s initial response to these allegations.  The LMA, a union for team managers in the Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two, and the England national team, stated that the exchanged messages “were two text messages sent in private at a time Malky felt under great pressure and when he was letting off steam to a friend during some friendly text message banter.”

The phrases “letting off steam” and “friendly banter” couldn’t have been used more inappropriately by the LMA.  To excuse verbalized expressions of racism, sexism, and homophobia as just “friendly banter” was an extremely reckless decision by the LMA.  The LMA later apologized for their statement and have since condemned the Mackay and Moody messages, but the damage has been done.

News of the messages came to light due to an investigation with help from Cardiff and their owner Vincent Tan.  Tan has appeared to exact revenge on his former employees Mackay and Moody because he felt the two were spending his money improperly (among other things).  The Malaysian billionaire was unhappy with Mackay and Moody’s decisions to spend over $50 million on eight players (Andreas Cornelius, John Brayford, Simon Moore, Steven Caulker, Gary Medel, Maxi Amondarain, Kevin Theophile-Catherine, and Peter Odemwingie) in the summer of 2013.  Of the eight incoming players, only two (Caulker and Medel) have made a substantial impact on the team.  Only three of the eight summer of 2013 transfers are still with Cardiff a year later.

While Tan is upset with Mackay for the aforementioned transfers, there are not too many team owners who would give their manager enough power to have free rein on club transfers.  It is widely understood that most club owners can have the final say on transfer decisions (after all, they do own the team and employ the manager.

Nevertheless, the awkward and unusual story does not end here.  Crystal Palace have recently been fined by the Premier League for what they call a violation of rule B. 16.  The rule states, “Every club shall behave towards each other club and the League with the utmost good faith.”

The allegations are that Cardiff’s starting lineup was leaked to Crystal Palace prior to the London-based club thrashing the Wales-based club 3-0 back in April.  It was suspected that Moody used his contacts at Cardiff to obtain Cardiff’s lineup, and then relayed the information to Palace’s manager at the time, Tony Pulis.  Pulis and Moody both rejected these claims; however, the fine was handed out to Palace.  Whether previous knowledge of an opponent’s starting lineup would affect the outcome of a match is debatable.

Although there have been recent positive breakthroughs in sports involving openly gay athletes actively participating in professional sports (the NBA’s Jason Collins and NFL’s Michael Sam), and women being hired as coaches in male sports (Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs and Corinne Diacre of Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot), there is still a long way to go in changing the sports culture for the better.  The animosity involved in the machismo world of sports won’t end today, but human beings are not born anti-Semitic, racist, sexist, or xenophobic.  The process of ending hate, not only in the sports realm, but around the world will take time.

Sadly, what we’ve learned is that the institution of soccer in Britain is still living in the dark ages, as evidenced by a column written by The Secret Footballer, where he revealed the following: “I reckon that if you took all the phones of everybody involved in football, 90% of them would contain emails or text messages displaying homophobia, sexism, racism and everything in between.”

8 thoughts on “What We’ve Learned From the Cardiff, Crystal Palace and LMA Fiasco”

  1. If tan had this info why did he keep it till MM was up for a job. Is that blackmail? Why not bring it out when he found out about it. Not condoning what MM said very stupid.

    1. Tan didn’t keep what he had until now. They’ve been sent to the FA weeks from now. It has been reported that those documents were sent to the FA before Tony Pulis resigned from Crystal Palace. So there’s no way they would have known Malky was going to get the job at Palace since Pulis was still in place there.
      (Which might put Pulis suddenly leaving the club in new light: Care to speculate on the real reasons Pulis may have decided to leave Palace as it was reported he no longer wanted to work with Moody?)

      Furthermore, he was adviced by the club lawyers that by FA rules, he is bound to report those findings to the FA if Malky & Moody don’t, otherwise the club might face punishment for complicity.


      To be honest my feeling is that Tan could care less about those texts and what they represent, his real beef and what is the real story as far as he’s concerned are the dubious transfers allegation. He feels he has been swindled by those 2 fools; he is right in trying to clear his name, keep his money, get compensated (if proven) right. Notice that the accusation of Crystal Palace’s spygate has been ruled in his favor by the FA last week.

      It’s becoming more and more evident to me that the leak of those texts may have been from someone inside the FA, maybe someone who thinks the big shots at FA were going to keep that quiet.

  2. “If tan had this info why did he keep it till MM was up for a job.”

    that’s why tan didnt fire MM. he wanted him to resign so the chinese man didnt have to pay mackay’s remaining salary.

  3. I am Brown of skin but I could give a damn what MM says in his personal email.
    You need to draw the line between the private and public relations.
    If we searched up everyone’s phones we’d see things like them saying an assistant has big breasts, they’d make jokes in a mildly racist tone with a friend and if it got out that person is a racist.
    I don’t think he’s racist, sexist or homophobic but rather he was saying things in private and isn’t really prejudiced.
    If he was really racist he would have resigned or never played Frazier Campbell, Kim Bo Kyung, Cualker etc. He said very bad things but I doubt he meant them.
    The TXT messages were leaked by Tan definitely and I find that classless.
    They shouldn’t be said at all but it’s on his personal email to one of his mates.
    I’m not condoning it but where do we draw the line with a person’s public and private life.
    Him being a public figure isn’t an excuse because if an average Joe got caught up in something like this he wouldn’t lose his job but because MM is on TV and is high profile this whole thing is getting blown out of proportion.
    I’d have a bigger problem if MM said anything racist, sexist, or homophobic to someone’s face or over emails/txts vs sending them to a friend from work.
    Once again I don’t think he’s prejudiced but he said things to a friend that went public so now he’ll be painted as such.

    1. Well said. Conversations and off the cuff comments with mates shouldnt be used to label someone a racist etc. The person should have to be a actual racist before the press ruin their life with that label. Some people like to make terrible jokes about everything.. Lets make everyones private conversations with mates public.

  4. What we learned is the culture or racism and prejudice that exists behind closed doors that exists in the boardrooms and the dugouts of English clubs. It explains why professional coaches are 99% former players but there are no black coaches despite 40% of the players being black. Stuff like this shows a Rooney rule has to come into soccer.

    Prejudice and racism in the UK and USA are different. I say there is more open racism in the USA but lower respect for people of colour in the UK. The British are very polite so it is considered more important to appear not to be prejudice than not being prejudice.

    The problem for English professional soccer coaching is that it has been an old boys networks for working class white former players for too long. If you were ethnic, a woman or went to college or university or were middle or upper class, professional coaching was a closed shop to you. This is why attitudes like reported can exist with no diversity. Now the UK press look stupid too, they too are not very diverse, because they were defending this man and saying how stupid this little Malaysian man.

    LMA statement just showed the lack of understanding and diversity off the field and shows why British soccer coaches are so bad right now with the lack of new faces and ideas about soccer. Alex Ferguson created the boom in Scottish coaches in as teams looked to find the new Alex Ferguson meant there was a disproportionate representation of Scottish coaches in the English game, but Ferguson’s days are gone and Moyes failure shows English clubs need to be more inclusive because talent comes in all colours and regions. Soccer is a global game and seems wrong 100% of the coaches are white when 40% of the players are black in England and former black players like Hasslebainke, Brian Beane, Nigel Quashie have to go to minor leagues in Europe because no one in England in any of the leagues will hire black coaches.

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