Arthur Wharton statue to go on display at Fifa headquarters

The contribution of the Football League's first-ever black player will be honoured by Sepp Blatter at a special ceremony to be held in Zurich on June 6
A statue honouring Arthur Wharton - the first black player to play in the English Football League - will be presented to Fifa President Sepp Blatter in Zurich on June 6.

Representatives of the Arthur Wharton Foundation will be at the governing body’s headquarters for the ceremony, where the Maquette statue commissioned in recognition of the pioneering role he played will be put on permanent display thanks to a charitable donation from Fifa.

“To see Arthur Wharton being recognised, honoured, and celebrated at the highest echelon in football is wonderful news, both poignant and appropriate as a lasting tribute to his legacy as the world’s first black professional footballer,” read a statement from the foundation.

"The generous donation received from Fifa in return for the Maquette statue will enable the foundation to continue to raise awareness of Arthur Wharton, his story and the need to embrace culture and diversity towards equality for all."

Born in the Gold Coast - now known as Ghana - in 1865, Wharton moved to England in 1882 and began his career at Darlington before going on to play for Preston North End, Rotherham, Sheffield United and Stockport County among others.

Similar statues are already on show at the Football Association and Uefa's headquarters in London and Nyon respectively.

“This collective show of support demonstrates the commitment and desire to see Arthur Wharton rightfully acknowledged for the crucial role that he played in contributing to what is known today as ‘the beautiful game’ that is football,” the statement added.