HomeEquality and DiversityFA Chairman Greg Clarke Resigns Over Offensive Comments

FA Chairman Greg Clarke Resigns Over Offensive Comments

FA Chairman Greg Clarke Resigns Over Offensive Comments

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nglish’s soccer’s Football Association (FA) has begun the search for a new chairman, after the resignation of Greg Clark over his recent offensive remarks.

The 63-year-old apologised after he used the word “coloured” to describe black players and suggested that being gay was a “life choice”.

His comments were made via a video link before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee, ones that were branded ‘harmful’, ‘archaic’ and ‘deeply offensive’ by a host of anti-discrimination groups.

Clarke didn’t stop there either, adding that black and South Asian people had “different career interests” from each other, and drew complaints for saying a women’s coach had told him that the lack of female goalkeepers was due to girls not liking the ball being kicked at them.

Clarke said in a statement he felt remorseful for what he said and apologised for his actions.

“My unacceptable words in front of Parliament were a disservice to our game and to those who watch, play, referee and administer it,” Clarke said.

“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,” he said.

Chair of soccer equality and inclusion organisation, Kick It Out, Sanjay Bhandari, welcomed the quick action taken by the FA.

Bhandari said on Sky Sports News: “We are not just talking about anybody here, we are talking about the leader of our national game on a really major strategic issue for the FA, which is driving greater diversity and inclusion, making everyone feel they belong in the game.”

“These were archaic attitudes which were really revealing themselves in comment after comment – a well-briefed chair or CEO would know exactly how to navigate that.

“It is not as if this is the first time, there have been previous incidents – like referring to institutional racism as ‘fluff’.

“What it shows is there is an attitude underlying which is really not the right attitude to be leading the English game,” he said.

While announcing Clarke’s departure, the FA said: “We would also like to reaffirm that as an organisation, we are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to promote diversity, address inequality, and tackle all forms of discrimination in the game.”

Chairman of the FA’s professional game board, Peter McCormick, has been named interim chairman after Clarke announced his resignation amid the criticism.

Equality campaigners, Stonewall UK, said in a statement: “The language we use matters, which is why it’s a shame Greg Clarke used such a harmful phrase like ‘life choice’ to describe being gay.”

“It was also deeply upsetting to hear the archaic words and stereotypes he used to describe black and Asian people, along with sexist stereotypes about players from the women’s game,” Stonewall UK said.

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