Sport: Black mark for football

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It is a game of two halves. It is also, apparently, a game of two colours. Black footballers tend to get paid less than their white counterparts, despite the fact that they have longer careers, score more goals, and more likely to play for the national side, claims Dr Stefan Szymanski, of London University's Imperial College.

Premier League clubs are among the worst offenders, spending around pounds 70,000 less for a black player, said Dr Szymanski whose report will be studied by the Commission for Racial Equality.

Dr Szymanski's findings are based on a comparison of the wage bills and league positions of 39 clubs between l978 and l993. It showed that those with more black players achieved higher positions, but had lower wage bills.

The Centre for Football Research at Leicester University agreed black players were paid less, but said differences might be linked to other factors, such as age and inexperience.