Greg Clarke resigns as FA chairman after using term ‘coloured’ to MPs


A chairman Greg Clarke has stepped down from his role in the wake of his comments to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Clarke was forced to apologise for using the word “coloured” to MPs during talks on Tuesday, while he 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”.

Clarke received backlash from the wider football community, including anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out and LGBT+ charity Stonewall, and he has now resign from his role as FA chairman.

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.

Clarke was answering a question around the difficulty of homosexual players in the men’s game coming out because of social media backlash.

Clarke had said: “If I look at what happens to high-profile female footballers, to high-profile coloured footballers, and the abuse they take on social media….social media is a free-for-all.

“People can see if you’re black and if they don’t like black people, because they’re filthy racists, they will abuse you anonymously online.

“They can see if you’re a woman, some of the high-profile black, female footballers take terrible abuse, absolutely vile abuse.

“I haven’t talked directly to gay footballers because I haven’t been able to find any who would meet me but I talk to other people around the game and they say ‘why would you voluntarily sign up for that abuse?”‘

When Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee member Kevin Brennan pointed out the word he had used and asked Clarke if he would like to withdraw it, Clarke said: “If I said it I deeply apologise.

“I am a product of working overseas, where I was required to use the phrase people of colour. Sometimes I trip over my words.”

The FA later tweeted to say: “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.”

Additional reporting by PA.

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