English Union Chief Tells Fan To Go To Zimbabwe On Vote Rigging

LONDON – Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, has admitted telling a football fan to "go to Zimbabwe" after being questioned about the fairness of the voting for this season's player of the year award

Taylor was responding to an email from a Manchester City supporter who felt that Ryan Giggs did not deserve to be among the six candidates. The £1.2m-a-year ­executive became involved in an exchange of emails and became exasperated when it was pointed out that Giggs had started only 12 league games.

"I can only tell you the situation as it is," Taylor wrote to the fan. "If you are not happy and consider yourself such an expert on ballots perhaps you had better go to Zimbabwe or Russia the next time they have elections and tell everybody how they should vote as they put their votes in the ballot box!"

His retort could be construed as insensitive, at best, given that voters in Zimbabwe at the last elections were subjected to "systematic torture and beatings". Taylor, however, was unrepentant when it was put to him that his remarks, published on the Bluemoon fans’ website, had gone down badly. Several fans had accused him of lacking professionalism.

"There seems to be a feeling that somebody at the PFA decides the nominations," Taylor said last night. "There’s not an understanding that these are ballot papers sent to every player. That voting takes place in February and March. One lad kept writing in, so I said if you think you are such an expert, why not go outside a ballot box in Russia or Zimbabwe and tell them how to do it."

Giggs, who could make his 800th appearance for United when they play Tottenham Hotspur today, is the favourite to win the award at tomorrow’s PFA dinner.