Former Norwich City director's comments about black footballers branded 'absolute disgrace'

Stuart Webber.
Stuart Webber has apologised to the families of the players over his comments. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The former sporting director of Norwich City is said to be "gutted" after remarks he made in an interview sparked a racism row.

Stuart Webber has been accused of "racially profiling" black players by suggesting "it had to work out for them in football, because the alternative is potentially jail or something else."

Mr Webber made the remarks during a wide-ranging discussion with the Eastern Daily Press about his charity, which aims to help young people, and an upcoming attempt to climb Everest.

But his comments in the paper's Pink Un football section have been condemned as "casually racist".

Abu Kamara, a Norwich City striker currently on loan at Portsmouth, and one of the players Mr Webber referenced, said he was "deeply saddened and shocked" by the comments.

On X, formerly Twitter, Mr Kamara said: "I'm proud of where I come from and acknowledge the sacrifices my family have made in order for me to have a career in football.

"These remarks are a sign that there is still a long way to go to be treated equally."

The local Norfolk paper reported that Mr Webber had said that his Summit Foundation charity wanted to help young players who really needed it, not the ones who were privileged.

He added: "Jonny Rowe wouldn't mind me saying it but him, Abu Kamara, Max (Aarons), Jamal (Lewis), Raheem (Sterling) back in the day at Liverpool - where they come from it had to work out for them in football, because the alternative is potentially jail or something else."

Former Norwich City player Max Aarons, who was sold to Bournemouth, is one of the players mentioned by Mr Webber. Credit: PA Images

The comments, which were then reported by the Daily Mirror, have drawn sharp criticism, with Max Aarons' mum Mel taking to X, formerly Twitter, with the following response.

She wrote: "I’m shocked at Stuart Webber's casual racism and blatant disrespect for all of these black players and their families. As Max Aaron's mum and a good friend of Jamal Lewis's mum Catrina I know there in not a chance any of those boys...would have been in jail."

Mr Webber is understood to be very upset about the reaction to his comments and to have contacted the players and their families to say sorry.

The Pink Un has also tweeted to say it does not endorse Mr Webber's comments.

Anti-racism campaigner Troy Townsend described Mr Webber's comments as an "absolute disgrace" on X.

Mr Townsend, Head of Player Development at anti-racism watchdog Kick It Out, said: “Football or jail it is then? An absolute disgrace.”

Mr Webber was appointed Sporting Director at Norwich City in April 2017 and left the role in November last year.

He has been a controversial figure, though the club was promoted twice to the Premier League under his tenure.

Mr Webber's Summit Foundation was founded by him and his wife Zoe, and aims to create awareness and opportunities for young people to help them achieve their potential.

Its website says it works with other charitable organisations to create programmes to educate and create better lives. 

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