England Football Association chairperson Greg Clarke has resigned from his role following the use of a racist term during a press briefing.
When asked why there isn’t an openly gay men’s footballer at the elite level in England, Clarke said, “The answer is I don’t know, right, because I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people from the LGBT community. I’ve talked to LGBT athletes from other sports who have come out.
“The views I’ve heard is if I look at what happens to high-profile female footballers, high-profile coloured footballers and the abuse they take on social media.”
Clarke late apologised when questioned on his comments and said that he sometimes trips over his words because he worked in the U.S. for many years, where he used the term “people of colour.”
He had outlined at length how the FA were tackling issues of diversity and inclusion in English football and recognised the importance of the problems in lengthy, detailed answers.
But his evidence was littered with further clumsy language, stereotyping Asian people while also claiming a coach told him that young girls do not like the ball being kicked at them.
“If you go to the IT department at the FA, there’s a lot more South Asians than there are Afro Caribbeans,” he said during one answer. “They have different career interests.”
Following the briefing, the FA released a statement shortly after the hearing concluded which read: “Greg Clarke is deeply apologetic for the language he used to reference members of the ethnic minority community during the select committee hearing today.
“He acknowledged that using the term ‘coloured’ is not appropriate and wholeheartedly apologised during the hearing.”
A Clarke statement read: “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.
“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.
“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.
“I would like to thank my friends and colleagues in the game for the wisdom and counsel they have shared over the years and resign from the FA with immediate effect.”