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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 16:16 GMT
Pardew insists he is not a racist
West Ham boss Alan Pardew (left) and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Pardew says Premiership teams should have an English backbone
West Ham manager Alan Pardew has hit back in his row with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, saying he is not racist.

Last week Pardew revealed his dismay that Arsenal did not field a British player against Real Madrid in Europe, much to Wenger's annoyance.

But Pardew hit back: "When I said that, I was not being racist or xenophobic, as Arsene Wenger has suggested.

"A manager who is married to a Swede and has signed players from all over the world cannot be called racist."

He added in a statement on West Ham's website: "Our multi-cultural approach to our squad is something I'm proud of.

"But I care passionately about our game and will always give my views honestly and from the heart."

Wenger described Pardew's original remarks that "we are losing the soul of English football" as "really disappointing".

To have strong British national sides we need to have young British players coming through
Alan Pardew

"For two reasons - first, we are kicking racism out of football and racism starts there," said the Arsenal boss.

"The second part is that when you are manager, players accept the technical opinion of a manager, but not that kind of remarks."

Pardew says he has no problem with Arsenal and wants them to go on and win the Champions League.

But he feels all Premiership clubs should have a backbone of English players to safeguard the future of the national team.

"If we are to have strong British national sides then we need to have young British players coming through," he said.

"I'm a great admirer of Arsene Wenger and what he has achieved, and in no way was I belittling their great result.

"Indeed, they have my support and I hope they go on to win the Champions League.

"But I maintain we need to protect our young talent for the greater good.

"It is a view I know is held by the Professional Footballers Association, other managers and indeed Fifa, who are considering introducing a quota system.

"Jose Mourinho at Chelsea has said he will build success at Stamford Bridge with a backbone of English players.

"If ever I were to manage in Portugal, I would insist the team had a fair share of home-born talent from that country."


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