FA chairman resigns in disgrace

Greg Clarke has stepped down as chairman of the Football Association (FA) after referring to black players as ‘coloured footballers’. 

The remarks were made when speaking to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) about racism against players on social media. 

Clarke’s comments were so clearly dated back to a time when fans still stood on the terraces, and racist abuse was even more common place than it is now.

He also said gay players have made a ‘life choice’ and that female players don’t like having the ball kicked too hard at them. 

Clarke then claimed there are ‘a lot more South Asians than there are Afro-Caribbeans’ in the FA’s IT department because ‘they have different career interests’. 

The former chairman has apologised, saying: “My unacceptable words in front of Parliament were a disservice to our game and to those who watch, play, referee and administer it. 

“I am deeply saddened that I have offended those diverse communities in football that I and others worked so hard to include. 

“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.” 

A number of people such as Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston, former England striker Darren Bent and DCMS select committee chairman Julian Knight have spoken openly, saying this is completely unacceptable. 

The FA has announced Peter McCormick will take over the role as interim chairman, while the board will look to appoint someone else permanently. 

Early candidates for the position include England legend Gary Lineker, FA board member Paul Elliott and Director of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell. 

Tyrone Mings, Aston Villa centre-back, has said appointing a black man or woman for the position would be a ‘huge step’ in the fight for equality. 

Despite his apology, Clarke claimed institutional racism was ‘fluff’ when speaking to the same committee three years ago. 

This begs the question whether Clarke, his former colleagues or the FA genuinely care about the issue of racism or including minorities within the sport. 

The fact that this hatred runs right through English football is truly worrying for the game as well as society. 

It seems these views and behaviour have significantly slowed the progress football is trying to make. 

To take steps forward, our countries top black players have to be protected from racism, to set an example to grassroots football. 

It is outrageous, England and Manchester City forward, Raheem Sterling has fallen victim to racism on several occasions, most notably when playing against Chelsea. 

For this unacceptable behaviour to stop, something must change and it must change now. 

However, Clarke has been fired and this is a sign of a step in the right direction. 

By Harry Hughes

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