FA Chairman Greg Clarke steps down after using offensive term
(Photo credit GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

FA Chairman Greg Clarke has stepped down from his position after his use of the term “coloured footballers” in a meeting with a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Having earlier issued a prompt apology, continued coverage and debate over his comment led Clarke to determine he should “put the interests of football first” and take the decision to step down.


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Clarke said it was a move he had already been contemplating before the controversy.

An FA statement confirming Clarke’s departure read: “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.”

Clarke had attended a meeting with the United Kingdom’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee alongside Premier League chief Richard Masters and EFL boss Rick Parry.

The trio were called to discuss a number of matters in English football, including Project Big Picture and the sport’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

But when asked about abuse athletes receive on social media, Clarke referred to “high-profile coloured footballers” in his response.

Clarke was offered the opportunity to withdraw the comment and subsequently apologised, saying he had tripped over his words.

FA Chairman Greg Clarke
(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The FA promptly released a statement on the matter, which read: “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.”

But later in the day, Clarke explained he had decided to resign from the FA with immediate effect.

“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,” he said.

“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.”


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