The 63-year-old also told MPs that South Asians and Afro-Caribbeans had “different career interests” and that being gay was a “life choice”. Clarke also ridiculed the hugely successful women’s game by suggesting female players do not like having the ball hit at them hard. Astonishingly, his offensive remarks came as he discussed race and inclusivity with the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
He apologised afterwards but had no choice but to step down as black footballers and senior figures in the game rounded on him.
Sanjay Bhandari, executive chair of Kick It Out, the body leading the crusade against racism in football, accused him of using “lazy racist stereotypes”.
Gabriel Agbonlahor tweeted: “So the FA chairman now calls us coloured footballers. How will racism end with people like him at the top.”
Ex-Liverpool forward Stan Collymore added: “This is flat out racial profiling, is dangerous and if the FA don’t comment or act, they are complicit.
“Seeing so many particularly white men commenting, ‘He’s nice, he’s just old, his heart is in the right place’, is why racism is moving forward, not in retreat.”
And former QPR defender Anton Ferdinand called the comments “unacceptable”.
Yesterday’s furore came two weeks after the FA launched a diversity code to tackle the game’s long and troubled history with racism.
Last night, the FA said: “Greg Clarke has stepped down from his role as our chairman. Peter McCormick will step into the role as interim chairman and the board will begin the process of appointing a new chair.”