English Football Association (FA) confirmed that Greg Clarke has resigned with immediate effect from his role as chairman following what he acknowledged were “unacceptable words” to British lawmakers on Tuesday.
Speaking at a UK parliamentary committee, Clarke used the word “colored” to explain Black, Asian and minority ethnic football players. He had also been criticized for his comments concerning people from South Asia, gay players and feminine footballers at the identical meeting.
“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,” Clarke said.
“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 statement, the FA — English football’s governance — said Peter McCormick would step into the role on an interim basis which identifying and appointing Clarke’s permanent successor would begin “in due course.”
Clarke was chatting with British lawmakers, together with English conference (EFL) chairman Rick Parry and English Premier League (EPL) chief executive Richard Masters, about the failure to come back to an agreement on a Covid-19 rescue package for the EFL, which governs the three leagues immediately below English football’s top tier, the EPL.
Asked by lawmaker Kevin Brennan if he wished to retract his use of the word, Clarke replied: “If I said it, I deeply apologize for it.”
“Secondly, i’m a product of getting worked overseas, I worked within the USA for several years, where i used to be required to use the term ‘people of color’ sometimes because that was the merchandise of their diversity legislation and positive discrimination format. Sometimes I trip over my words.”
The FA released an announcement soon after the meeting, saying that Clarke, who had been FA chairman since 2016, was “deeply apologetic for the language he used.”
When earlier within the meeting he was asked what the FA was doing to extend representation and variety in grassroots football, Clarke said the FA’s ethnicity pay gap was “nearly non-existent” which the organization’s gender pay gap had been “fundamentally reduced” but added that the BAME community wasn’t an “amorphous mass.”