LONDON – The head of English football’s national governing body has stepped down after making objectionable comments on several black people, women and members of the LGBTQ community during a solo appearance before a parliamentary committee.
During a car-crash online appearance in front of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Parliamentary Committee lawmakers on Tuesday, 63-year-old Greg Clarke referred to black football players as “colorful,” an old and offensive term, leading to resentment It spread.
During the meeting call for his language, Clarke apologized and backpedaled, spending time in the United States, where he was “required to use the phrase people of color,” adding, “He has to travel on my words. should do.”
Sanjay Bhandari, President of Anti-Racism Football Organization Kick it out, Said he was “extremely disappointed” by Clarke’s remarks.
“Old language has been used for decades to describe Black and Asian people as ‘color’ and should be sent to the dustbin of history,” said Bhandari. “This is completely unacceptable.”
Later, speaking about diversity within English football, Clarke, who is also the vice president of the international football body FIFA, said that South Asians and Afro Caribbean people “had different career interests.”
“If you go to the FA’s IT department, there are a lot more South Asians than Afro Caribbean. They have different career interests,” he referred to the Football Association to the committee.
“There was a slip of the tongue, terrible was terrible,” former football star Darren Bent, who is black, Tweeted Following Clarke’s comments.
Clarke also referred to being gay as a “life option” and paraphrased that female players at a young age “just didn’t like to kick the ball over them.”
Professional network women in football said their comments were “outdated stereotypes.”
He resigned hours later.
“My unacceptable words before Parliament were dissatisfaction with our game,” Clarke said in a statement on Tuesday. “I am deeply saddened that I have offended the diverse communities in football that I and others worked very hard to include.”
British Sports Minister Nigel Hudlton acknowledged that Clarke’s comments had led to “deep crime” and that he “had the right to stand down.”
The Football Association confirmed Clarke’s resignation and has since appointed Peter McCormick as interim president. The governing body said it is “fully committed” to tackling discrimination. While FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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British football, like the game globally, has been injured by the ongoing coronovirus epidemic. The games were temporarily resumed, with some limited spectators, but have since been curbed since the country has returned to a second round of national lockdown restrictions.
Clarke’s comments have also come at a time when Britain is struggling with identity and multicultural issues after separating from Europe following its Brexit decision.
This summer saw demonstrations of Black Lives Matter in London and elsewhere in solidarity in the United States following the police assassination of George Floyd. The protests trampled colonial era statues as Britain continued with its imperial past.
Clarke’s comments also follow comments made by Northern Irish jurist Lord Kilkenny, who called Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris as “Indian.”
Not everyone agrees with Clarke’s criticism.
Former England World Cup star John Barnes, Joe is of Jamaican heritage, told NBC News that Clarke’s comments were likely “slipping of the tongue”, perhaps due to him being “of a particular age”, and should focus on his intentions rather than public scrutiny.
Barnes said, “If you keep an eye on these kinds of situations, we lose a lot of potential and possibility to reach the peak of inequality.”
“Yes, he is clumsy about why he is actually saying this because he is conditioned to think, but then is called a racist and a homophobe and a sexist … do I think it’s insulting and insincere is.”
Reuters contributed to this report.