Football Association chairman Greg Clarke has resigned over the “unacceptable” language he used when referring to black players.
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.
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.
He also said there were “a lot more South Asians than there are Afro-Caribbeans” in the FA’s IT department because “they have different career interests”.
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“We can confirm that Greg Clarke has stepped down from his role as our chairman,” said an FA statement.
Clarke became Football Association chairman in August 2016
“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.
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Greg Clarke’s comments have caused deep offence and were completely unacceptable. I acknowledge his decades of service to football and his apology, but he was right to stand down as chairman of the FA.”
Three years ago – in front of the same parliamentary committee, Greg Clarke was criticised for referring to institutional racism as “fluff”. He apologised after being chastised by MPs and reminded that language matters.
It appears the message did not get through.
Two weeks after the FA launched a new diversity code with the aim of finally tackling racial inequality in the game, the governing body’s commitment to diversity has once again been called into question.