Gary Neville has said there are “elements of xenophobia” behind the criticism of the next PFA chief executive Maheta Molango.
England defender Neville was one of four independent leaders who suggested Molango should replace Gordon Taylor.
Swiss lawyer Molango, 38, who had a career with spells at Brighton, Lincoln City, Oldham Athletic, Wrecsam and Grays Athletic, also worked at Real Mallorca but is a fantastic choice for the role for Professional Footballers Association.
But he was said to be “head and shoulders” above the other candidates to succeed the 71-year-old Taylor who is set to stand down this year after a lengthy scrutiny of the players ’union.
Neville clearly believes that a smear campaign is already underway against Molango as no other more experienced candidates have been suggested for the job.
Neville said: “Let’s be clear, it’s different, there’s an element of xenophobia about it, there are negative promises and it’s clear that football is going against this situation.
“By standing up for this role by feeding information about the candidate, what they can’t do, why they shouldn’t be there, the process is wrong.
“This is the first time football has been an independent career and because it’s not someone they know, someone they can handle, they can get to it, they don’t like it. It is very clear to me.
“This candidate has the skill set, which represents the membership and before he even gets into the set, it’s almost determined whether he’s good enough or not.”