FA chairman Greg Clarke resigns after calling BAME players 'coloured'

Football Association chairman Greg Clarke has quit after using "unacceptable" language when referring to black players.

Speaking at a UK parliamentary committee, Clarke used the word "coloured" to describe Black, Asian and minority ethnic football players.

He prompted further criticism when referring to gay players making a "life choice" and a coach telling him young female players did not like having the ball hit hard at them.

He also said there were "a lot more South Asians than there are Afro-Caribbeans" in the FA's IT department because "they have different career interests".

"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, 63, 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."

"I would like to thank my friends and colleagues in the game for the wisdom and counsel they have shared over the years and resign from the FA with immediate effect."

During the parliamentary hearing, Clarke apologised after being prompted to say sorry by MP Kevin Brennan.

Brennan said Clarke's language in reference to black players was the kind that did not encourage inclusion, while fellow committee member Alex Davies-Jones called it "abhorrent".

Clarke had earlier spoken of the need to attract people into the sport from a diverse range of communities.

The equality charity Kick It Out said his remark about black players should be "consigned to the dustbin of history" and criticised his comments concerning people from South Asia, gay players and female footballers.

A statement from anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card said Clarke's comments "only serve to demonstrate the power of language and the damage of stereotyping groups of people"

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "Greg Clarke's comments have caused deep offence and were completely unacceptable. I acknowledge his decades of service to football and his apology, but he was right to stand down as chairman of the FA."

Clarke, 63, was appointed chairman of the Football Association in 2016 following six years as chairman of the Football League.

He was recommended by the nominations committee, which was chaired by independent director Roger Devlin, after Greg Dyke brought to an end his three years in the post.

Clarke has also been a Fifa vice-president. Part of his role at the Football League included serving on the FA Council.

A successful businessman, Clarke was chief executive officer of Cable & Wireless and sat on the board of Bupa. He was chairman of the Met Office for four years and also chairman of FTSE 250 company Redefine International.

Despite having barely been seen since the start of the year, Clarke was already under pressure over his role initiating secret talks over the Project Big Picture plans for a radical overhaul of the English game.