England Football Association chairman Greg Clarke has resigned over “unacceptable” language to describe black players.
Clarke said he was “deeply saddened” for the offence he had caused by using the term “coloured footballers”.
The comments came as he was talking about the racist abuse of players by trolls on social media to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee via video link.
Clarke said his words were a “disservice to our game”.
“We can confirm that Greg Clarke has stepped down from his role as our chairman,” said an FA statement.
“Peter McCormick will step into the role as interim FA chairman with immediate effect and the FA Board will begin the process of identifying and appointing a new chair in due course.”
Following his resignation, Clarke said: “My unacceptable words in front of Parliament were a disservice to our game and to those who watch, play, referee and administer it. This has crystallised my resolve to move on.
“I am deeply saddened that I have offended those diverse communities in football that I and others worked so hard to include.”
During the parliamentary hearing, Clarke apologised after being prompted to say sorry by MP Kevin Brennan.
Brennan said Clarke’s language in reference to black players was the kind that did not encourage inclusion, while fellow committee member Alex Davies-Jones called it “abhorrent”.
Clarke had earlier spoken of the need to attract people into the sport from a range of communities.
“People can see if you’re black and if they don’t like black people because they are filthy racists, they can abuse you anonymously online,” he said.
“If you go to the IT department of the FA, there’s a lot more South Asians than there are Afro-Caribbeans. They have different career interests,” said Clarke.
He prompted further criticism when referring to gay players making a “life choice” and a coach telling him young female players did not like having the ball hit hard at them.”
The equality charity Kick It Out said his remark about black players should be “consigned to the dustbin of history” and criticised the comments by Clarke concerning people from South Asia, gay players and female footballers.
Clarke had been called to give evidence to the DCMS committee about the Premier League’s potential bailout of English Football League clubs and the structural reforms proposed as part of ‘Project Big Picture’.
“As a person who loves football and has given decades of service to our game, it is right that I put the interests of football first,” added Clarke in the statement confirming his departure.
“2020 has been a challenging year and I have been actively considering standing down for some time to make way for a new chair now our CEO transition is complete and excellent executive leadership under Mark Bullingham is established.”
Speaking before the resignation was announced, Sanjay Bhandari, executive chair at Kick It Out, said Clarke’s comments to the DCMS were outdated.
“I was particularly concerned by the use of lazy racist stereotypes about South Asians and their supposed career preferences. It reflects similar lazy stereotypes I have heard have been spouted at club academy level,” he said.
“Being gay is not a ‘life choice’ as he claimed too. The casual sexism of saying ‘girls’ do not like balls hit at them hard is staggering from anyone, let alone the leader of our national game. It is completely unacceptable.”
- Affail Monney apologises for alleging Caleb Kudah breached Code of Ethics
- Sam George: Lack of bed and ambulance led to death of a 12-year-old
- Ordering loophole allowed students to eat for free at KFC for six months
- Woman attacked by wild antelope succumbs to death
- Full text: Affail Monney’s apology statement over attack on Citi FM journalists
- Ernest Ako (Former IGP)
- Accounts of how some people are treated by National Security shocking – Samson Lardi
- ADB denies shifting from core business to real estate
- Parliament will carry out its own investigation into alleged assault on Citi FM journalists – James Agalga
- Mother of 8-year-old boy without feet calls for support
Government must involve local communities in anti-galamsey campaign – Galamsey Researcher
We’ll fully cooperate with Energy Minister to facilitate lifting of new LPG outlets ban – LPG Marketers Association
Covid-19 has affected blood mobilisation – Dr Srofenyo
We have $200m for you to borrow – ECOWAS Bank to governments, businesses
Ban on drumming and noisemaking imposed in Korle Klottey as preparations towards Homowo begins
US to deepen bilateral relationship with Ghana as United Airlines recommences flights to KIA
Photos from the 2021 national Eid-ul-Fitr ceremony
2021 Budget pivotal towards fiscal consolidation – IMF commends government
National Security Ministry’s investigation into alleged assault of Caleb Kudah should be aborted – OneGhana Movement
Ghana Gas management pays courtesy call on Asantehene to update him on Nyinahin-Kumasi pipeline
Playback: Newsfile discusses alleged assault on Citi FM journalists, Otumfuo joins ‘galamsey’ fight
German priests defy Vatican ban and bless same-sex unions
Peter Lanchene Toobu: The tomorrow I saw
Sam George: Lack of bed and ambulance led to death of a 12-year-old