David Moyes: FA to ask Sunderland boss to explain himself over ‘slap’ remark


Sunderland boss David Moyes will be asked by the Football Association to explain himself after telling a BBC reporter she might “get a slap”.

After his side’s draw with Burnley on 18 March, Moyes was asked by Vicki Sparks if the presence of owner Ellis Short had put extra pressure on him.

He said “no” but, after the interview, added Sparks “might get a slap even though you’re a woman” and told her to be “careful” next time she visited.

Moyes “deeply regrets” the comments.

“It was in the heat of the moment,” added the 53-year-old Scot.

Both Moyes and Sparks were laughing during the exchange and the former Everton and Manchester United manager later apologised to the reporter, who did not make a complaint.

The FA will now write to Moyes to ask for his observations on the incident.

Speaking in a news conference on Monday, he said: “I deeply regret the comments I made.

“That’s certainly not the person I am. I’ve accepted the mistake. I spoke to the BBC reporter, who accepted my apology.”

The BBC confirmed that Moyes and Sparks had spoken about the exchange and the issue had been resolved.

A spokesman said: “Mr Moyes has apologised to our reporter and she has accepted his apology.”

However, shadow sports minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan called on the FA to act.

“If you look at the fact that he wouldn’t have said that to a male reporter, and I truly believe that, I think the comments and his behaviour and attitude was sexist,” she told BBC Radio 5 live.

“With the FA, part of what they have been criticised for in the past is not tackling sexism and other forms of discrimination, which needs to be stamped out across the sport.

“Fundamentally it’s a male-dominated environment that women find it incredibly difficult to break into and comments like this do nothing to encourage women.”

Former England striker and BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker also condemned Moyes’ behaviour.

“Moyes incident highlights a tendency for some managers to treat interviewers with utter disdain. Pressured job. Well rewarded. Inexcusable,” he said.

A statement from Women in Football said it was “deeply disappointed and concerned” but “pleased that David Moyes has apologised”.

It added: “No-one should be made to feel threatened in the workplace for simply doing their job.

“We hope that the football authorities will work with us to educate football managers and those working within the game to prevent this kind of behaviour.”

Sunderland are bottom of the Premier League on 20 points, eight points from safety, going into a game at Leicester City.


Richard Conway, BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent

The FA must now decide what action, if any, it will take following David Moyes’ comments.

His swift apology to Vicki Sparks may help him mitigate any punishment if he is subsequently charged by the governing body.

However Moyes’ admission of wrongdoing and “deep regret” shows that he himself believes he’s done something wrong.

Under such circumstances could The FA publicly justify simply warning him as to his future conduct? Would there be criticism of the message that sends from an organisation which prides itself on the values and high standards it tries to uphold in football?

It must now await Moyes’ letter – and then decide how best to proceed.

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