David Moyes will face no action from Sunderland over 'wholly unacceptable' threat to 'slap' female reporter

Many fans have called for the Scot's head, but the Wearsiders are standing firm

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The Independent Football

Sunderland will take no further action over David Moyes' threatening behaviour towards a female journalist.

The under-fire Scot was asked by the BBC's Vicki Sparks if the Black Cats' poor run of form might put him under pressure from chairman Ellis Short. 

But Moyes batted away the enquiry and then returned to Sparks off-camera, threatening her with violence if she were to repeat her line of questioning.

“It was getting a wee bit naughty at the end there so just watch yourself," he said. “You still might get a slap even though you’re a woman. Careful the next time you come in.”

The BBC confirmed that Moyes had since apologised to Sparks for his choice of language, and Sunderland declared that "the matter was resolved amicably."

But despite shadow sports minister Rosena Allin-Khan's calls for FA action and an outcry from fans calling for the 53-year-old's head on Monday morning, The Independent understands that the Wearsiders consider it a closed matter. 

And on Tuesday afternoon, the club released a statement condemning Moyes' comments as "wholly unacceptable" but confirmed they would not take any action against him.

It read: "Sunderland AFC would like to reiterate the actions taken following the Burnley game on March 18.

"The exchange between the manager and a BBC reporter was wholly unacceptable and such actions are not condoned or excused in any way.

"David recognised this immediately, proactively bringing the matter to the attention of the CEO (Martin Bain) and apologising to the reporter. The club also spoke with both a senior figure at the BBC and the reporter personally, expressing its profound regret over what had occurred.

"The matter was treated with the utmost seriousness from the outset and the swift and decisive action taken by the club and the manager at the time ensured that it was resolved to the satisfaction of the reporter and the BBC, which was the priority.

"With both the BBC and the reporter agreeing that appropriate action had been taken at the time, the club continues to fully support David in his role as manager of Sunderland AFC."

Clare Phillipson, director of the domestic abuse charity Wearside Women in Need, 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, 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.”

The club are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table, eight points adrift of 17th-place Swansea City, after losing 1-0 to Watford on Saturday.