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Sport

Factbox: Reactions to resignation of FA Chairman Clarke

(Reuters) - Greg Clarke quit as English Football Association chairman hours after referring to “coloured footballers” during questions from members of parliament on Tuesday.

Clarke was also criticised for voicing other stereotypes during the meeting. Following are some of the reactions to his comments and resignation.

Nigel Huddleston, Britain’s Sports Minister:

“Greg Clarke’s comments have caused deep offence and were completely unacceptable... He was right to stand down as chairman of the FA.

“We must ensure that opportunities are open to everyone in the sports sector - from athletes to board members - and all forms of discrimination must be tackled head on.”

Julian Knight, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee select committee:

“It’s right that Greg Clarke apologised before the committee. However, this isn’t the first time that the FA has come to grief over these issues. It makes us question their commitment to diversity,” he said.

David Bernstein, former FA chairman:

“I am just surprised that the chair of any organisation who’s got a feel of what’s going on in the year 2020 could use those types of words, that sort of language. It’s just inappropriate,” he told the BBC.

Sanjay Bhandari, chairman of anti-racism organisation Kick It Out:

“These were archaic attitudes which were really revealing themselves in comment after comment -- a well-briefed chair or CEO would know exactly how to navigate that,” he told Sky Sports.

“It is not as if this is the first time; there have been previous incidents - like (Clarke) referring to institutional racism as ‘fluff’. What it shows is there is an attitude underlying which is not the right attitude to be leading the English game.”

Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC), anti-racism education charity:

“SRtRC recognise his (Clarke’s) apology and acceptance of the impact of his comments,” it said in a statement on Twitter.

“The FA has always been strong supporters of the SRtRC campaign, we hope to continue that partnership and to see strong leadership from them to further the diversity and inclusion agenda moving forwards.”

Tyrone Mings, England defender:

“We do still have a very long way to go, and there is no shame in that,” he told reporters. “There is no shame in knowing we can all improve, there is no shame in knowing we all have to have uncomfortable conversations.

“Football is such a diverse community that we have to be aware of what is appropriate for one another and we have to be careful and mindful of the terminology we use.”

Darren Bent, former England and Tottenham Hotspur striker:

“Slip of the tongue was it? Awful, just awful,” he wrote on Twitter.

Anton Ferdinand, former West Ham United defender:

“I appreciate that the FA are doing some good work with their diversity campaign but it’s important the chairman Greg Clarke knows using the term ‘coloured footballers’ to reference people of ethnicity is unacceptable,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Clearly education is needed at all levels.”

Lianne Sanderson, former England Women forward:

“I often question how these people get into these positions in the first place,” she told Sky Sports.

“Then we wonder why racism and homophobia is on the rise, when we have somebody who can say subconscious racism is ‘fluff’ in the Houses of Parliament and think that is acceptable. I don’t think he realises the severity of what he says.”

Stan Collymore, former England forward:

“Clarke resigns. Let’s take the initiative and get a man or woman who understands what the job needs across the board,” he wrote on Twitter.

“No box ticking smiley personalities who are trendy, we need gravitas, experience, nous and can move English football on. Victory, but plenty of battles ahead.”

Compiled by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

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