FA Chairman Greg Clarke has resigned from his post after using the term “coloured footballers” during a meeting with MPs.
FA Chairman Greg Clarke has resigned from his post after being forced to apologize for using the term “coloured footballers”, whilst appearing before the Digital, Culture, Media, Sports committee on Tuesday 10th November, where they were to discuss what could be done within the English FA, with regards to possible financial rescue packages that could be given by the Premier League to aid the struggling EFL, plus to talk about Greg’s involvement with the recent Project Big Picture revelations.
Mr. Clarke also faced criticism for saying, “If you go to the IT department at the FA there’s a lot more South Asians than there are Afro Caribbeans. They have different career interests.” Clarke also caused outrage by saying being gay is a life-choice”, over which he received a backlash from Kick It Out and LGBT charity Stonewall, as well as the general football community, leading him to resign from his position as FA chairman, later on, Tuesday 10th November.
There will now, of course, be the process by the FA board, of identifying and appointing a new chairman, but for now, Peter McCormick will act as the interim chairman.
Commenting on his resignation, Greg Clark said, “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”.
He added, “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”, continuing, “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”.
Chairman of Kick It Out, Sanjay Bhandari, said, “I was extremely disappointed to hear Greg Clarke’s comments today in the DCMS select committee. His use of outdated language to describe black and Asian people as ‘coloured’ is from decades ago and should remain consigned to the dustbin of history”.
Mr Bhandari added, “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”.
There was also criticism levelled at Greg Clarke by anti-discrimination campaigner Piara Powar, who tweeted, “I like Greg Clarke, I think he’s quite genuine, but why does he talk such bollocks? This stuff about ‘coloured’ players and Asians in the IT department. It’s inaccurate and insulting”.
Stonewall’s Associate Director of Community Engagement, Maria Munir, stated, “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. We hope Greg Clarke and the FA will swiftly apologise for his comments like they did for the words he used to refer to Black and Asian players today.
This highlights how much more there is to do before football is everyone’s game. Words have an impact, they influence the way that people are treated on a personal level, as well as the institutional opportunities that are available to sportspeople. We’d encourage Greg Clarke to listen to and learn from all marginalised people, so we can work towards a world where everyone is accepted without exception”.
An FA spokesman said, “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.”