Greg Clarke resigned as president of the English Football Association on Tuesday after referring to “colored footballers” during questions from members of Parliament. The 63-year-old, Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) was widely criticized after making a series of inappropriate comments while questioning members of the selection committee.
“We can confirm that Greg Clarke has stepped down from his role as our chairman,” the FA said in a statement. “Peter McCormick will come into the role as interim FA president with immediate effect and the FA board will begin the process of identifying and appointing a new chair in due time.”
The 63-year-old former Leicester City chairman Clarke was appointed by the FA in 2016, when the governing body has worked hard to improve its fraught image and become more inclusive. However, Clarke’s old vocabulary on Tuesday caused resentment between anti-racist organizations and sportspersons.
“I was extremely disappointed to see Greg Clarke’s comments in the DCMS selection committee today,” Kick It Out president Sanjay Bhandari said. “The use of the old language to describe blacks and Asians as” colors “dates back decades and should be preserved to the dustbin of history.”
Clarke was asked to remotely discuss the financial impact of the COVID-19 epidemic at the DCMS meeting and the delay in the financial rescue package of the English Football League (EFL) Premier League. But when the questions within the FA’s ranks changed to diversity, he began to score verbal goals at an alarming rate.
Asked about the difficulty in gay players ‘coming out’ in men’s games in the social media era, Clarke said: “If I look at what happens to high-profile female footballers, high-profile colored footballers For, and take abuse of them on social media… social media is a free for all. “
DCMS committee member Kevin Brennan MP later chose Clarke on his terms of choice. “If I said that I deeply regret it,” Clarke replied. “I am a product of working overseas, where I needed to use the phrase people of color. Sometimes I travel on my own words.”
The FA also released a statement stating that Clarke acknowledged that the word ‘colored’ was not appropriate. Clarke was also criticized for other comments during the meeting. Talking about diversity within football, he said South Asians and African-Caribbean people had “different career interests”, and used his organization as an example.
“BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities are not an amorphous mass,” he said. “If you look at the top level football, the Afro-Caribbean community has more representation than the South Asian community.
“If you go to the FA’s IT department there are a lot more in South Asia than in Afro-Caribbean. They have different career interests.”
Clarke also referred to gay players making “life choices” – indicating further criticism. Labor MP Alex Davis-Jones, whose question provoked Clarke’s “colored footballers” comment, said his terminology showed “immediate progress” that is essential on equality.
“I can’t believe we’re still here in 2020,” she said.
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