London - Sunderland manager David Moyes said on Monday he "deeply regrets" threatening to slap a female BBC reporter.
Earlier on Monday, Premier League strugglers Sunderland had issued an
apology on behalf of Moyes for the remarks he made to Vicki Sparks
after a goalless Premier League draw at home to Burnley on March 18.
Moyes, speaking at a press conference on Monday, 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."
Sparks had asked if Sunderland owner Ellis Short's presence at the
Burnley game meant Moyes was under additional pressure, with the Black
Cats yet again involved in a battle against relegation.
Video footage published by the Daily Star newspaper showed Scottish
boss Moyes replying, "No, none at all" before the interview concluded.
However, the former Everton and Manchester United manager, believing
he was off camera, 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 seen laughing at this point and the reporter herself did not make a complaint.
Former England striker turned television football broadcaster Gary
Lineker was among those who took to Twitter on Monday to criticise
Moyes's behaviour, saying: "Moyes incident highlights a tendency for
some managers to treat interviewers with utter disdain. Pressured job.
Well rewarded. Inexcusable."
Meanwhile Britain's Women in Football, an umbrella group for women
working in and around football, including female journalists, responded
Monday by urging England's governing Football Association to help rid
the game of sexism by "educating" managers.
"We are deeply disappointed and concerned by the threatening language
used by Sunderland manager David Moyes towards BBC reporter, Vicki
Sparks," said a WIF statement. "We are calling on the FA to help educate
football managers against this type of behaviour."
A WIF spokeswoman 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
A Sunderland spokesperson said earlier on Monday: "David and the reporter
spoke to one another subsequently and the matter was resolved amicably."
The BBC added the matter had been resolved, with a spokesman saying:
"Mr Moyes has apologised to our reporter and she has accepted his
Sunderland remained bottom of the table and eight points adrift of
safety after Saturday's 1-0 loss to Watford. They travel to resurgent
champions Leicester on Tuesday.