#sports FA to recognise Benjamin Odeje as the first black man to represent England after 51-year wait

#sports FA to recognise Benjamin Odeje as the first black man to represent England after 51-year wait

#sports activities FA to recognise Benjamin Odeje as the first black man to represent England after 51-year wait

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FA to recognise Benjamin Odeje as the first black man to represent England after 51-year wait… with trailblazer to be particular visitor at Nations League fixture in opposition to Germany

  • Benjamin Odeje was chosen for England schoolboys as a 15-year-old in 1971
  • Laurie Cunningham beforehand recognised as England’s first black footballer
  • The West Bromwich Albion legend appeared for the Under 21s in 1977 

The FA are set to recognise Benjamin Odeje as the first black man ever to represent England, Sportsmail can reveal.

Odeje, 67, has waited greater than half a century for them to acknowledge his place as the first black footballer to characteristic in an England worldwide fixture — however his 51-year wait is coming to an finish.

Sportsmail has realized that following inner discussions, the Football Association have agreed to formally invite Odeje, who got here by the ranks at Charlton throughout the late Nineteen Sixties and Seventies, as a particular visitor to England’s UEFA Nations League fixture in opposition to Germany later this month.

#sports FA to recognise Benjamin Odeje as the first black man to represent England after 51-year wait

Benjamin Odeje was chosen for England schoolboys as a 15-year-old in 1971

He will attend in his capability as the nation’s first black worldwide participant and in the course of authenticate his distinctive place in English soccer historical past.

Laurie Cunningham was beforehand recognised as England’s first black footballer at any stage; the West Bromwich Albion legend appeared for the Under 21s in 1977. But a BBC investigation in 2013 revealed Odeje as the first black Three Lions participant when he was chosen for England schoolboys, as a 15-year-old, versus Northern Ireland in entrance of 70,000 individuals at Wembley in March 1971.

Playing on the proper wing, Odeje, who didn’t play a single minute {of professional} soccer however had a profitable non-League profession, helped England to a 1-0 win.

Odeje, who was nicknamed Pele due to his prolific goalscoring report, went on to make 4 additional appearances for England schoolboys, scoring as soon as in a 5-1 win over Holland.

However, he has obtained no acknowledgement from the FA with regards to his place on this nation’s footballing legacy.

Indeed, in May 2020, an article carried in the i newspaper entitled ‘England’s first black worldwide and his 42-year wait for recognition’ said that an ‘appropriate gesture to recognise his accomplishment is long overdue.’

Laurie Cunningham was previously recognised as England’s first black footballer at any level

Laurie Cunningham was beforehand recognised as England’s first black footballer at any stage

The transfer to lastly endorse Odeje’s standing was first mooted by Paul Elliott, chair of the FA’s inclusion advisory board, earlier this yr.

Debbie Hewitt, who was appointed FA chair in January, gave the transfer the all-clear earlier this week.

Hewitt — who changed Greg Clarke following his resignation as chairman at the finish of 2020 after he referred to black footballers as ‘coloureds’ throughout a Government assembly — has put bettering equality, range and inclusion at the coronary heart of her stewardship as she seeks to modernise the organisation.

Odeje is predicted to settle for the FA’s invitation to attend the conflict in opposition to Germany at Wembley on September 26, England’s ultimate match earlier than the World Cup in Qatar.

Odeje’s attendance is a part of a wider plan from the FA to host a desk of trailblazers who’ve a particular place in the historical past of black footballers for the recreation versus Germany.

Family members of Arthur Wharton — who’s broadly recognised as being the first black skilled footballer — are amongst these set to be invited.

There is hope that Viv Anderson, the first black participant to represent England in a full worldwide, may even give you the option to attend.

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