Wednesday, 03 March, 2021


England FA chairman quits after 'coloured footballers' remark

FA urged to make fundamental changes to diversity approach FA chairman resigns after remark about black players - governing body
Noah Ferguson | 12 November, 2020, 20:11

The English Football Association are expected to outsource their recruitment of Greg Clarke's successor as chairperson and will finalise their hiring process in the coming days with the aim of making a relatively quick appointment, sources have told ESPN.

"We can confirm that Greg Clarke has stepped down from his role as our chairman", the FA said in a statement on Tuesday.

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 later issued a statement of apology but said he has been considering standing down anyway.

In 2018 the FA launched its Pursuit of Progress initiative, aimed at increasing the diversity of those playing, officiating, coaching, leading and governing English football.

"But when answering questions from MPs on diversity in English football, he made a series of offensive and outdated comments about Black people, South Asian people, gay people and women", reports Pink News.

Football v Homophobia, an worldwide organization that helps tackle homophobia in the sport, said: "The idea that being gay is a life choice is an outdated concept that many people will find deeply offensive".

"I'm deeply saddened I have offended those varied communities in soccer I and others worked so toughly to include".

Former FA chairman David Bernstein told BBC Sport: "I am just surprised that the chair of any organization who's got a feel of what's going on in the year 2020 could use those types of words, that sort of language".

Andy Cole
Andy Cole has called on the FA to illustrate progress on diversity issues

During a conference organized by the Ministry of Sports, Clarke was asked about the difficulty of homosexual footballers to publicly declare it seeing the harassment in social networks suffered by black players.

He initially apologised for his poor choice of language to the select committee, claiming he had "tripped over his words" after being encouraged to use term "people of colour" during years working the USA. "Sometimes I am wrong with my words", said Clarke, who hours later resigned through a statement distributed by the FA.

The 63-year-old referred to "coloured footballers", stereotyped south Asians and Afro-Carribean people as possessing "different career interests" and described homosexuality as a "life choice" during a hearing created to examine why the game had collectively failed to agree a financial rescue package for the lower leagues.

"I will reiterate my point that we do still have a very, very long way to go, and there is no shame in that", said Mings.

"That kind of attitude may well partially explain why South Asians are statistically the most under-represented ethnic minority on the pitch".

England defender Tyrone Mings believed appointing a black man or woman as the next chairperson would be a huge step forward.

"But ultimately that isn't what we're asking for".

But others said Clarke's comments jeopardized the FA's place over problems like racism, diversity, and representation.

"I think internally there was a lot of upset about what had been said".

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