FA chairman Clarke resigns after 'unacceptable' comments

London (AFP) –


Greg Clarke resigned as chairman of the English Football Association on Tuesday after making a serious of controversial statements to lawmakers that provoked outrage.

Clarke was earlier forced to apologise after he used the word "coloured" when referencing black players as he addressed the Digital, Culture, Media, Sport Committee about diversity issues.

The 63-year-old, who is a vice-president of world governing body FIFA, also attracted criticism for suggesting the lack of professional players in England from a South Asian background was due to "different career interests", comparing the situation to the IT department at the FA.

Clarke also described being gay as a "life choice" when quizzed over the lack of openly gay male players in England and said that young girls were often put off playing the game because they did not want to be hit hard by footballs.

"We can confirm that Greg Clarke has stepped down from his role as our chairman," the FA said in a statement.

"We would 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 admitted his statements were unacceptable as the FA aims to become a more diverse organisation.

"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 in a statement.

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

The FA confirmed Peter McCormick will step into the role as interim chairman with the process of identifying and appointing a new chair to come in due course.