Greg Clarke under fire for controversial comments – what did FA chairman say?

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke has come under fire for a series of comments he made at a committee hearing in front of a group of MPs on Tuesday.

Clarke appeared to pander to a series of racist and sexist stereotypes and also insinuated that being gay was a “life choice” – although it is unclear whether he was referring to the decision to ‘come out’.

Here the PA news agency picks out some of the quotes which have caused a social media backlash – and already led, in part, to an embarrassing apology.

CLARKE ON RACE

“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.”

CLARKE ON RACE II

Greg Clarke
Greg Clarke has been criticised for appearing to pander to racial stereotypes (John Walton/PA)

“If you go to the IT department at the FA, there’s a lot more South Asians than there are Afro-Caribbeans. They have different career interests.”

CLARKE ON SEXUALITY

“The real issue is once you run out in front of 60,000 people and you decided on Monday that you wanted to disclose your sexuality – and I would never pressure anybody to disclose their sexuality – what I would want to do is to know that anybody who runs out onto the pitch and says, ‘I’m gay. I’m proud of it and I’m happy. It’s a life choice, and I’ve made it because my life is a better place’, I’d like to believe and I do believe they would have the support of their mates in the changing room.”

CLARKE ON WOMEN

Our statement in response to the comments made by Greg Clarke at the DCMS Select Committee today.

We stand shoulder to shoulder with other groups and communities who have been affected. pic.twitter.com/Kgf5cz65G9

— Women in Football (@WomeninFootball) November 10, 2020

“I talked to a coach – and I’m not certain this is true – and said, ‘what’s the issue with goalkeepers in the women’s game?’ She said, ‘young girls, when they take up the game (aged) six, seven, eight, just don’t like having the ball kicked at them hard’, right? They prefer to kick it than have it kicked at them. We have to understand we need to look at different ways to bring women into the goalkeeper’s position.”

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