LONDON, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Football Association chairman Greg Clarke apologised after referring to players from the BAME community as “coloured” during questions from members of parliament on Tuesday.
Clarke, speaking in front of a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, was discussing issues around inclusion and diversity in grassroots football.
Asked about the possibility of a social media backlash for gay players ‘coming out’, Clarke said: “If I look at what happens to high-profile female footballers, to high-profile coloured footballers, and the abuse they take on social media....social media is a free-for-all.”
DCMS committee member Kevin Brennan MP later picked up Clarke on his choice of phrase.
“If I said it I deeply regret it,” he replied. “I am a product of working overseas, where I was required to use the phrase people of colour. Sometimes I trip over my words.”
The FA later issued a statement, saying: “Greg Clarke is deeply apologetic for the language he used to reference members of the ethnic minority community during the select committee hearing today.
“He acknowledged that using the term ‘coloured’ is not appropriate and wholeheartedly apologised during the hearing.”
Sanjay Bhandari, Executive Chair of anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out said he was “extremely disappointed” to hear Clarke’s use of the “outdated” word coloured. (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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