Gary Neville criticises 'xenophobic' reaction to Molango getting top PFA job

  • Neville helped select directors who oversaw recruitment
  • ‘It’s clear that football is resisting this appointment,’ he says

Gary Neville says elements of English football are stirring xenophobia in their “resistance” to the appointment of Maheta Molango as chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association. Neville believes that those who disapprove of Molango’s selection have been feeding “negative information” about the Swiss lawyer and former Brighton forward.

“Because it’s not someone they thought they could manipulate, that they could get to, they don’t like it,” he said. “It’s really clear for me.”

In an Instagram video, Neville addressed coverage of Molango’s selection. “Let’s be clear, it’s disparaging,” he said. “There’s an element of xenophobia about it. There are negative undertones.

“It’s clear that football is resisting this appointment through feeding journalists with negative information about the candidate – what he can’t do, why he shouldn’t be there, the process is wrong.”

Molango, 38, was named this week as the preferred candidate to replace Gordon Taylor, who is stepping down after 40 years at the head of the powerful players’ union. Neville was part of the process of selecting the new chief executive, helping to choose four independent nonexecutive directors who conducted the recruitment process.

“It’s actually the first time there’s been probably a truly independent process within English football around the appointment of a CEO, from four independent non-executives,” he said, adding: “This candidate has the skill set, he’s representative of the membership, and before he even gets in the seat it’s almost as if it’s been determined whether he’s good enough or not.”

Molango, born in St-Imler in Switzerland, began his career at Atlético Madrid but never played for the club. A journeyman career as a striker led him to have spells at five British clubs before he returned to Spain and trained as a lawyer.

After working as a lawyer for Getafe, Molango was recruited to become chief executive of Real Mallorca, where he oversaw two promotions in his four years.

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Neville said Molango would face “difficult times” if the PFA membership did not “get behind” his leadership. He said Molango should release the unpublished independent review into the structures of the union to signal a new era for the organisation.

“It’s critical that independent review is published; it’s critical that independent review is acted upon,” Neville, who has read the review, said. “It’s critical that the members of the PFA and the associated staff get behind their new CEO and make sure there is a great transition in difficult times – when you’ve had a long-serving CEO like Gordon – it’s critical that everyone is facing in the right direction. If you’re not, there’s going to be difficult times ahead.”


Paul MacInnes

The GuardianTramp

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