Ex-FA chairman Greg Clarke's comments slammed by women’s football group and WSL players

ONE of the women’s game’s most powerful lobby groups has hit out at comments made by Greg Clarke – who quit as FA chairman today. 

The Wembley chief has come under fire from Women in Football who described his statements as "outdated" and "unacceptable". 

Clarke made a series of gaffes, including controversial remarks on girls playing football, during a catastrophic grilling from MPs. 

The 63-year-old chair was discussing the need for diversity efforts to continue in the game with the Digital, Media, Culture and Sport Committee. 

Some of the comments that preceded the FA chief’s resignation include his use of the term "coloured" in reference to black players, and his apparent suggestion that being gay was "a life choice". 

And Clarke was also slammed for saying a women’s coach had told him that the lack of women’s goalkeepers was due to girls not liking the ball being kicked at them.

Following the debacle, the football boss faced a backlash on social media from female players past and present.

Women in Football CEO Jane Purdon,said: “In my playing days, I had a high tolerance of footballs being kicked hard at me.” 

A Women in Football statement, written before news of his sacking, read: “The use of outdated stereotypes in football – whether about girls, people of different ethnicities or heritages, or about sexuality – is unacceptable. 

“It does reflect the football that we know and love, and it actively excludes people by seeking to generalise their unique experiences with a guess at what ‘people who look like them’ feel, experience and desire. 

“Our priority will always be to stand up for every girl, woman and non-binary person in football regardless of race, sexuality or ability. 

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with other groups and communities who have been affected by Mr Clarke’s comments.” 

Reading's Danielle Carter and Natasha Harding and Arsenal's Lotte Wubben-Moy, are among the WSL stars who criticised Clarke's gaffes.

And Gunners defender Wubben-Moy urged football's leaders to 'be better' and to 'lead by example'.

Following his resignation, Clarke released a statement expressing sadness at the offence caused by his words. 

In the statement, the ex-FA chairman said: “As a person who loves football and has given decades of service to our game, it is right that I put the interests of football first.

“2020 has been a challenging year and I have been actively considering standing down for some time to make way for a new Chair now our CEO transition is complete and excellent executive leadership under Mark Bullingham is established.

“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. 

“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.”

The FA say Peter McCormick will step into the role of interim FA Chairman with immediate effect.

Officials say the process of identifying and appointing a new chair will begin in due course.

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