Wednesday 28 June 2017

WATCH: David Moyes 'deeply regrets' telling female reporter she 'might get a slap' after interview

Damian Spellman

Sunderland manager David Moyes says he "deeply regrets" threatening to slap a female reporter in a post-match interview.

Moyes has apologised for the exchange with BBC Newcastle and Radio Five Live reporter Vicki Sparks after the Black Cats' 0-0 Premier League draw with Burnley at the Stadium of Light on March 18.

And speaking at a press conference on Monday, the Scot said: "It was in the heat of the moment. 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 shadow Sports Minister has called on the Football Association to take action against Moyes, branding his comments "sexist threats".

Sparks had asked if owner Ellis Short's presence at the Burnley game had meant he was under more pressure with the club once again fighting a battle against relegation.

Footage published by the Daily Star shows Moyes answering, "No, none at all" before the interview drew to a close.

However, thinking he was off camera, he then added: "You were just getting a wee bit naughty at the end there, so just watch yourself. You still might get a slap even though you're a woman.

"Careful the next time you come in."

Both Moyes and Sparks were laughing during the exchange and the reporter did not make a complaint, although colleagues were unimpressed when they heard what had been said.

It is understood Moyes later apologised during a telephone conversation.

However, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, the shadow Sports Minister, branded Moyes' conduct "disgraceful", adding on Twitter: "David Moyes cannot get away with these sexist threats - the @FA must take action immediately."

Gary Lineker also condemned Moyes' behaviour, saying on Twitter: "Moyes incident highlights a tendency for some managers to treat interviewers with utter disdain. Pressured job. Well rewarded. Inexcusable."

A Sunderland spokesman said: "David and the reporter spoke to one another subsequently and the matter was resolved amicably."

The BBC confirmed that Moyes and Sparks had spoken since and that the matter was resolved.

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

News of the incident emerged just days after Moyes confirmed he expects to remain in charge at the club next season no matter what happens.

Sunderland remain rooted to the foot of the table following Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Watford and are eight points adrift of safety ahead of Tuesday night's trip to Leicester.

Women in Football, a network of professional women working in and around the football industry, have urged the FA to help eradicate sexism in the sport by "educating" football managers.

A WIF statement read: "We are deeply disappointed and concerned by the threatening language used by Sunderland manager David Moyes towards BBC reporter, Vicki Sparks.

"We are calling on the FA to help educate football managers against this type of behaviour."

A WIF spokesperson added: "We are pleased that David Moyes has apologised. 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."

In a WIF survey conducted by Professor Sue Bridgewater and released in March 2016, 61 per cent of respondents had witnessed sexism in the workplace with 46 per cent - almost half - having experienced it themselves.

According to WIF, recent TUC research conducted in collaboration with the Everyday Sexism Project showed that more than half (52 per cent) of women, and nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of women surveyed aged 18-24 said they had experienced sexual harassment at work.

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