POLITICS
10/11/2020 17:40 GMT | Updated 10/11/2020 17:48 GMT

FA Chairman Greg Clarke Steps Down After Comment About 'Coloured' Footballers

Peter McCormick will step into the role as interim FA Chairman with immediate effect.

PA

Greg Clarke has stepped down as chairman of the FA, after he referred to non-white people as “coloured”.

In a statement, the FA said: “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.

“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.”

Speaking to the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee on Tuesday, Clarke said he wanted to see racist, homophobic and misogynistic abuse in football stadiums criminalised. 

But questioned over why no professional male footballer in England had come out as gay, Clarke said LGBT athletes from other sports had told him it was because people had seen what “happens to high profile female footballers, high profile coloured footballers, and the abuse they take on social media”.

Labour MP Kevin Brennan interrupted Clarke to ask him to “withdraw” the use of the word “coloured”.

“Diversity is not really the issue. Football is diverse. It’s inclusion that’s the issue,” Brennan said. “Isn’t that exactly the sort of language that means inclusion is not a reality, even though football is very diverse?”

Clarke said: “If I said it I deeply apologise for it.

“I am a product of having worked overseas. I worked in the USA for many years where I was required to use the term ‘people of colour’ because that was product of their diversity legislation and positive discrimination format, sometimes I trip over my words.”

In a statement later on Tuesday, he 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.

“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.”