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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 21 May, 2019

Premier League chief sorry for comments in Doha

Dave Richards said football was stolen by UEFA and FIFA gangs. And then he fell into a fountain.

Premier League chief Dave Richards.
Premier League chief Dave Richards.
Image: Lee Jin-man/AP/Press Association Images

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE chairman Dave Richards has apologised for comments he made about FIFA and UEFA stealing football from England.

Richards, who is also a Football Association board member, said his remarks were misinterpreted.

He made the comments at a conference on Wednesday, which saw the Premier League and the FA quickly distance themselves from Richards’ words.

“I would like to apologise for any offence caused,” Richards said in a statement.  ”It is important to clarify that I was expressing my personal views and not those of any organisation I represent.

“My comments on the heritage of the game were intended to be light-hearted. They clearly have not come across in that way and I sincerely regret making them and any resulting negativity that may have been interpreted towards FIFA and UEFA.

“I will be writing to both organisations in these terms,” he said.

Richards’ day went from bad to worse when en route to dinner in Doha, Qatar, where he was attending the International Sport Security Conference, he fell into a pool. Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside was with Richards at the time and denied suggestions he had been drinking alcohol before the incident.

“I was on the way to dinner with Sir Dave at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha,” Gartside told the BBC. ”We were walking across to our table in a dark courtyard area. There were three fountain areas nearby, no pool.

“They had switched off the lights. He thought he was stepping on to flat marble, but his foot went down into the water, he fell over and hurt his leg quite badly. Any suggestions he had a drink is nonsense. It’s a dry place.”

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