Greg Clarke resigns after controversial comments – what did the FA chairman say?

He was criticised by anti-discrimination group Kick It Out
Greg Clarke resigns after controversial comments – what did the FA chairman say?

Greg Clarke has been forced to apologise after a series of inappropriate comments. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

Greg Clarke has resigned as chairman of the Football Association in the wake of his remarks to MPs today.

Clarke was earlier forced to apologise after he used the word “coloured” before the British parliament's Digital, Culture, Media, Sport committee.

The FA said: “We can confirm that Greg Clarke has stepped down from his role as our 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.”

He was also criticised by anti-discrimination group Kick It Out after saying that black and South Asian people had “different career interests” from each other, and also drew complaints for saying a women’s coach had told him that the lack of women’s goalkeepers was due to girls not liking the ball being kicked at them.

The purpose of the FA chief appearing before the committee had been to discuss the governance of the game, particularly related to the financial rescue package from the Premier League to the EFL and also the recent revelations of his involvement in Project Big Picture discussions.

But Clarke ended up creating a new storm for English football with a series of controversial remarks, and Kick It Out executive chair Sanjay Bhandari was scathing in his criticism.

“I was extremely disappointed to see Greg Clarke’s comments today,” Bhandari said in a statement.

“His use of outdated language to describe black and Asian people as ‘coloured’ is from decades ago and should remain consigned to the dustbin of history.

During his answers, Clarke appeared to pander to a series of racist and sexist stereotypes and also insinuated that being gay was a “life choice” – although it is unclear whether he was referring to the decision to ‘come out’.

Here we pick out some of the quotes which have caused a social media backlash – and already led, in part, to an embarrassing apology.

CLARKE ON RACE

“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.”

CLARKE ON RACE II

“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 ON SEXUALITY

“The real issue is once you run out in front of 60,000 people and you decided on Monday that you wanted to disclose your sexuality – and I would never pressure anybody to disclose their sexuality – what I would want to do is to know that anybody who runs out onto the pitch and says, ‘I’m gay. I’m proud of it and I’m happy. It’s a life choice, and I’ve made it because my life is a better place’, I’d like to believe and I do believe they would have the support of their mates in the changing room.”

CLARKE ON WOMEN

“I talked to a coach – and I’m not certain this is true – and said, ‘what’s the issue with goalkeepers in the women’s game?’ She said, ‘young girls, when they take up the game (aged) six, seven, eight, just don’t like having the ball kicked at them hard’, right? They prefer to kick it than have it kicked at them. We have to understand we need to look at different ways to bring women into the goalkeeper’s position.”

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