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Saturday, January 17, 1998 Published at 22:04 GMT

Sport: Football

Mellor clashes with Bradford chief
image: [ Mellor: A controversial figure in sport and politics ]
Mellor: A controversial figure in sport and politics

The Bradford chairman, Geoffrey Richmond, has said he has the backing of more than 50 clubs in his campaign to remove David Mellor as head of the Government's Football Task Force.

The two men have been involved in a week-long row after the former Conservative MP queried on his talk show whether colour had been any factor in the sacking of Bradford manager Chris Kamara.

The BBC agreed to allow Mr Richmond a right of reply on Radio 5 Live's 606 show. But the Bradford chairman still wrote to all 92 league clubs and the Prime Minister calling for Mr Mellor's resignation.

The show soon degenerated into a shouting match between the pair, with both men accusing the other of being a "bully".

Mr Richmond said: "I have had support, Mr Mellor, from in excess of 50 Premiership and Football League chairmen supporting my call for your resignation from the position as head of the Government's Task Force on the basis that you are not a suitable person to head that body, which has the stated aim of eliminating racism from football."

"I want you to accept you made an enormous error of judgement - by unreservedly apologising to all those involved."

Mr Mellor, who had earlier stressed he accepted the reply given by a caller last week that colour had no part to play in Kamara's sacking, replied: "The job of being chairman of the Task Force is not in the gift of you or your colleagues, and this programme has the task of holding people to account in football for what they do."

The pair, continually interrupting one another, continued to argue about the issue for 10 minutes.

At one point, Mr Mellor said: "Are you going to let me answer or are you going to bully me like you have no doubt bullied others in your time?"

"It was perfectly appropriate that your actions, and the actions of other people in authority in football, are called into question."

Mr Richmond replied: "You are a well-known bully, Mr Mellor, don't throw stones at me."

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