Reports from the Daily Mail claim Henry said the Premier League club wanted to put a cap on the number of African players because “they have a bad attitude” and “cause mayhem” when they are not being selected.
Henry, it was claimed, suggested it was a policy supported by club management – but insisted West Ham had “nothing against the African race at all”.
West Ham have since responded with the following statement: “West Ham United is an inclusive, respectful and diverse football club. Equality is at the heart of our ethos and values.
“We were recently given the opportunity to demonstrate the extent of our firm commitment to these values, which are embedded throughout the club, with a view to achieving the intermediate level of the Premier League’s equality mark, recognised and supported by Kick it Out.
“We have worked extremely hard over the last 18 months across all areas of the club and we are confident in our achievements.
“All West Ham United employees are required to go on equality, diversity and unconscious-bias training as part of our new mandatory training and workforce plan.
“We take any allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and are now in the process of ascertaining the full facts behind this accusation.”
The Daily Mail reported that Henry sent an email on January 27 – in response to an inquiry about a footballer of Cameroonian descent – to another senior West Ham official and an agent.
Henry allegedly said in the email: “We don’t want any more Africans and he’s not good enough.”
When asked by the Mail why that was the case, Henry reportedly highlighted “problems” with their former striker Diafra Sakho, who left West Ham to join French club Rennes on Monday.
“We find that when they (Africans) are not in the team they cause mayhem. It’s nothing against the African race at all.
“I mean, look, there are top African players. There’s not a problem with them. It’s just sometimes they cause a lot of problems when they are not playing, as we had with Diafra.
“He’s left, so great. It’s nothing personal at all.”
Asked then if he thought his comments amounted to a slight on African players, Henry apparently replied “no” and praised the efforts of West Ham’s Senegal midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate.