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LMA apologises for Mackay 'banter' defence

ESPN staff
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The LMA acknowledged that Malky Mackay sent 'a couple' of 'very regrettable' texts © Getty Images
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The League Managers' Association (LMA) have apologised after coming under fire for defending controversial comments by former Cardiff boss Malky Mackay as "friendly text message banter".

In a fresh statement released on Friday morning, the LMA apologised for the wording of its original statement, put out on behalf of Mackay on Thursday after the FA confirmed it was investigating a dossier sent by Cardiff reporting sexist, racist and homophobic comments by Mackay and the club's former head of recruitment, Iain Moody.

"The LMA apologises for some of its wording, in its release yesterday, which was inappropriate and has been perceived to trivialise matters of a racist, sexist or homophobic nature. That was certainly not our intention," read the new statement.

Iain Moody has resigned from his job as Crystal Palace sporting director © Getty Images
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"It is beyond argument that any comments that are discriminatory, even used in private, are totally unacceptable. The LMA remains absolutely aware of our responsibility to the game and to promote and uphold the highest standards of behaviour.

"The LMA will not be commenting further on the allegations relating to Malky Mackay whilst The FA conducts its investigation, other than to repeat that both the LMA and Malky will be cooperating fully.

"We will continue to work with all of the game's stakeholders to address the important issues of respect and discriminatory behaviour in all its forms."

However, despite the apology, Cardiff have called for the resignation of LMA chief executive Richard Bevan, saying his position is now "untenable".

The LMA's original statement came after the Daily Mail had earlier published examples of the explicit text messages, though it was unclear who precisely is responsible for sending many of them.

It denied that Mackay had sent "any homophobic or sexist messages" and added: "There are incorrect and damaging suggestions that he sent a whole host of offensive and unpleasant messages that are simply not true and which give a grossly distorted and unfair view of Malky's involvement in this matter".

However, the LMA acknowledged that "Malky had, it seems, sent a couple of one-line texts that were, with the benefit of hindsight, very regrettable and disrespectful of other cultures" but said he was "letting off steam to a friend during some friendly text message banter".

Piara Powar, executive director of the anti-discrimination body FARE, criticised the original statement on Twitter, while ex-players Stan Collymore and Jason Roberts voiced their disgust. Collymore tweeted: "LMA statement. Institutional acceptance of the 'banter' of casual racism." Roberts was equally angered:

Cardiff had suspended Moody in November 2013 and sacked Mackay in December that year.

Mackay is now out of the running for the vacant manager's job at Palace, while Moody resigned from his post as the club's sporting director on Thursday.

The dossier was filed more than a week ago, according to the Press Association, and was not deliberately timed to affect Mackay's candidacy at Selhurst Park, though Mackay questioned the timing in the LMA's first statement.

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