Greg Clarke: Football Association chairman apologises for remark about black players

FOOTBALL Association chairman Greg Clarke has apologised for a reference to black players when talking to MPs about diversity.
Clarke said it was inappropriate for him to have used the term “coloured footballers”.
He had been talking by video link to members of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport select committee.
“If I said it, I deeply apologise,” said Clarke, 63, after being prompted to say sorry by MP Kevin Brennan.
“I am a product of having worked overseas, in the USA for many years, where I was required to use the term ‘people of colour’ because that was a product of their diversity legislature. Sometimes I trip over my words.”
Brennan said it was the kind of language that did not encourage inclusion, while fellow committee member Alex Davies-Jones called it “abhorrent”.
The equality charity Kick It Out said his remark should be “consigned to the dustbin of history” and criticised further comments by Clarke concerning people from South Asia, gay players and female footballers.
An FA spokesperson said afterwards that Clarke acknowledged his language was inappropriate.
“Greg Clarke is deeply apologetic for the language he used to reference members of the ethnic minority community during the select committee hearing today,” said the spokesperson.
Clarke had been talking about racist abuse of players by trolls on social media.
“People can see if you’re black and if they don’t like black people because they are filthy racists, they can abuse you anonymously online,” he said.
He had earlier spoken of the need to attract people into the sport from a range of communities.
“If you go to the IT department of the FA, there’s a lot more South Asians than there are Afro-Caribbeans. They have different career interests,” said Clarke.
Clarke had actually been called to give evidence to the DCMS committee about the Premier League’s potential bailout of English Football League clubs and the structural reforms proposed as part of ‘Project Big Picture’.
But he prompted further criticism when referring to gay players making a “life choice” and a coach telling him young female players did not like having the ball hit hard at them.

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