sport

Johnson steps down from Board

The Football Association have confirmed that Michael Johnson has stepped down from his role on their Inclusion Advisory Board with immediate effect.

The former Birmingham City and Derby County defender's position was heavily scrutinised after footage emerged of him describing homosexuality as 'detestable' in a television programme in 2012.

Consisting of 10 members including former Chelsea defender Graeme Le Saux and 2013 Sportswomen Community Award winner Rimla Akhtar, the recently-assembled Board was due to meet for the first time in January.

Johnson, a devout Christian, looked set to remain on the Board initially, but explained the public backlash to his comments had forced him to reconsider his position.

"I've taken time over the weekend to reflect on the media coverage from last week and feel that it's in the best interests of all concerned if I step down from my duties with the Inclusion Advisory Board," said Johnson.

"My position on the Inclusion Advisory Board was voluntary and I've decided to use that time to continue my personal development and education within equality."

Heather Rabbatts, chair of the Inclusion Advisory Board, added: "It's unfortunate that Michael has decided to step down but he remains 100 per cent behind the aims of the Inclusion Advisory Board and is someone that we will be speaking to on a regular basis as we progress throughout this year and beyond.

"He has a wealth of experience in both domestic and international football and is carving out a coaching career with Birmingham City so he's someone that can bring vital expertise to the work of the Inclusion Advisory Board over time."