David Moyes: 'Slap' comments reaction a message to football - Heather Rabbatts

Moyes 'deeply regrets' slap remark

FA board member Heather Rabbatts hopes the reaction to Sunderland manager David Moyes' comments to a female reporter sends a "loud and clear" message to the football community.

Moyes told the BBC's Vicki Sparks she might "get a slap" following an interview after a draw with Burnley.

He "deeply regrets" the remark but the Football Association has asked him for his observations on the incident.

Rabbatts is the only woman on the organisation's 12-person board.

"While these are difficult moments for the individuals involved, what I hope this says to the rest of the broader community is that this is not a PC issue," she told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek on Sunday.

"This is about professional people - be they male or female but, particularly given there are so few women holding these professional roles, how they are treated - and I hope that message has gone out loud and clear to the rest of the football community."

In the interview in question on 18 March, Moyes was asked by 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.

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.

Moyes, whose team are bottom of the Premier League table, said it was "in the heat of the moment" and, while Sunderland have given their support to him, the club described the comments as "wholly inappropriate".

"Somehow there is a view that football is an exception because of the passion in the game, moments of heat and temper," Rabbatts said.

"There are many other sports that have very passionate moments but we don't find we experience those comments.

"There isn't a moment when somehow the heat releases you from those broader responsibilities in terms of behaving ethically."

She added: "He has apologised. There is a recognition that what has happened wasn't appropriate. Whether it is subject to any regulatory oversight is a different question.

"I suspect the issue of his tenure for his role will be more linked to results on the pitch."

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