Sunderland boss David Moyes 'deeply regrets' slap remark to female reporter

Sunderland manager David Moyes has said he "deeply regrets" comments in which he said a female reporter "might get a slap" after a postmatch interview.

Moyes has apologised for the exchange with BBC Newcastle and Radio Five Live reporter Vicki Sparks after the 0-0 Premier League draw with Burnley at the Stadium of Light on March 18.

A Football Association spokesperson said the governing body would contact Sunderland to "seek observations from the club."

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Moyes 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."

Moyes said he had told owner Ellis Short about the incident "two weeks ago" and added: "Sometimes these things happen in the heat of the moment."

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, the shadow Sports Minister, branded Moyes' conduct "disgraceful," adding on Twitter: "David Moyes cannot get away with these sexist threats -- the @FA must take action immediately."

Gary Lineker also condemned Moyes' behaviour, writing on Twitter: "Moyes incident highlights a tendency for some managers to treat interviewers with utter disdain. Pressured job. Well rewarded. Inexcusable."

Clare Phillipson, the director of the domestic abuse charity Wearside Women in Need, said she was "stunned" when she watched the exchange on video.

She said: "I think the FA have to look into it. It is for the FA to set a clear standard about what they think is acceptable.

"It was dreadful, absolutely appalling. This is a woman, in a very small minority of sports journalists, was trying to go about her job and being threatened.

"It's the sort of thing you expect down the local pub, not the kind of thing you get from a professional football manager.''

Sparks had asked if Short's presence at the game had meant Moyes was under more pressure with the club struggling to avoid relegation.

Footage published by the Daily Star shows him answering before the interview drew to a close: "No, none at all.''

However, thinking he was off camera, he then 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."

However, both Moyes and Sparks were laughing during the exchange and the reporter did not make a complaint, although colleagues were reported to have been unimpressed when they heard what had been said.

A Sunderland spokesperson told ESPN FC that Moyes had "called Vicki the day after, and his apology was accepted graciously by both Vicki and the BBC."

The BBC told ESPN FC that Moyes and Sparks had spoken and the matter was resolved.

A spokesperson said: "Mr Moyes has apologised to our reporter and she has accepted his apology."