FA chairman Greg Clarke has resigned following heavy criticisms HR received for using the word “coloured” to describe BAME players while giving evidence to MPs.
BAME is an abbreviated term used to describe black, Asian, Arab and generally mixed racial people, excluding whites.
Clarke used the phrase when answering a question around the difficulty of gay players in the men’s game coming out because of social media backlash during a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee meeting on Tuesday.
The former FA chairman 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.”
A few minutes later, DCMS committee member Kevin Brennan MP asked Clarke if he wished to withdraw the use of the outdated word “coloured”.
“If I said it, I deeply apologise for it,” Clarke replied.
“Secondly, 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’ sometimes because that was the product of their diversity legislation and positive discrimination format. Sometimes I trip over my words.”
After his resignation was confirmed, Clarke said he “put the interests of football first” when making the decision to step down – something he had been “actively considering for some time” – and apologised again for his comments.
His resignation statement read: “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.”
In a message to Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Bryan Swanson, Clarke said: “I’ve enjoyed my time in football and move back into the business world having deeply appreciated my time in football and the great people I’ve worked with.”
Clarke also told Sky Sports News that he will resign as FIFA vice-president in February. He has opted against stepping down immediately to protect UEFA’s voting rights until then. His replacement will be appointed in February.