LONDON: Iain Moody has resigned as sporting director at Crystal Palace in the latest twist in a saga whose tentacles are spreading far beyond the ‘mere’ issue of a Premier League club’s management team.
Moody’s sudden exit from the crisis-entangled south London club follows allegations about racist, sexist and homophobic texts shared with his former colleague Malky Mackay.
The pair were sacked by Cardiff City last season and the Welsh club sent a dossier to the Football Association alleging misconduct. That prompted Palace to end discussions about appointing Mackay as manager in succession to Tony Pulis who left the club, in unexplained circumstances, two days before last weekend’s start of the Premier League season.
A Palace statement said: “In light of the events, Iain Moody has tendered his resignation and it has been accepted with immediate effect.”
The nature of the text and email exchanges were listed in an article in the Daily Mail by Matt Lawton and are, while remaining under investigation, will exacerbate concerns about ‘hidden’ discriminatory attitudes within the game.
They did not come as a surprise to Lord Herman Ouseley, chair of the anti-discrmination pressure group Kick It Out.
He said: “Kick It Out is aware but not shocked to hear of reports revealing alleged racist, antisemitic, sexist and homophobic comments made by former Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay, and Iain Moody, the former sporting director at Crystal Palace.
“These revelations are further confirmation of how football is tainted with racism, sexism, homophobia and antisemitism, and the culture which continues to exist throughout the game and in wider society as a whole.
“The reality is that these views are most dangerously held by those people in positions of power, and the football establishment knows and condones it.
“What you see at face value is not always reflective of the attitudes which are actually held deep down. It’s easy to present yourself as being reasonable and fair, and to behave in ways that hide prejudice and bias.
“However, any in-depth forensic examination or analysis of hidden views would be likely to reveal otherwise. That is what makes it difficult to eliminate and eradicate such prejudices, bigotry and even hatred.
“This familiar scenario acts as a challenge to the leadership of football that cannot be shirked again. The governing bodies and the clubs must denounce such attitudes prevalent in the game, and take the appropriate action.
“If these types of exchanges made privately make it into the public eye, the individuals concerned must accept the full consequences of their actions. Kick It Out now awaits the outcome of The Football Association’s investigation.”
Cardiff, Mackay and Moody have not commented on the specific reports.
Separately Cardiff have served notice on Palace and Moody of an intention to take legal action for their alleged involvement in last season’s so-called ‘spygate’ incident.
The Eagles beat Cardiff 3-0 in April only for the Welsh side to complain that their starting line-up had been leaked to their London rivals. Palace and Moody denied any wrongdoing.
But it is understood that the Palace hierarchy were unaware of Cardiff’s latest allegations about Moody and their complaint to the FA until Wednesday.
Palace were also thought to be unaware of the allegations about Mackay when the Scot was interviewed for the vacant manager’s position on Sunday.
Palace were led to believe that the bitter dispute between Cardiff and Mackay and Moody had been settled when the pair apologised to Bluebirds owner Vincent Tan in May and dropped their claims for compensation over their sackings in late 2013.
Members of the Palace hierarchy thought this dispute was purely over alleged financial irregularities during Mackay and Moody’s time at Cardiff and while they had heard rumours that there were more allegations, they had not been presented with any evidence.
Keith Millen will remain in temporary charge for Saturday’s visit of West Ham, assisted by first-team coach Ben Garner and coach Gerry Francis.
Former Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood is one of the candidates to be appointed to the position on a permanent basis.