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Moyes apologises over 'slap' threat to female reporter

David Moyes was caught on camera with his comments Photo: PA

Sunderland boss David Moyes has apologised to a female reporter after threatening to "slap" her in a post-match interview.

Moyes was involved in an exchange with BBC Newcastle and Radio Five Live reporter Vicki Sparks after the Black Cats' 0-0 Premier League draw with Burnley at the Stadium of Light on March 18.

Sparks had asked if owner Ellis Short's presence at the game had meant he was under more pressure with the club once again fighting a battle against relegation.

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

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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."

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

It is understood Moyes later apologised during a telephone conversation.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Moyes said he "deeply regretted" the comments which had been made in the "heat of the moment", and added that he had informed the club about the incident at the time.

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

"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."

In response to the calls for an investigation, Moyes said such actions such as his recent comments were not in his "personality or character".

A Sunderland spokesman said: "David and the reporter spoke to one another subsequently and the matter was resolved amicably."

The FA said it would write to Moyes for his "observations" on what happened.

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The BBC confirmed that Moyes and Sparks had spoken since and that the matter was resolved.

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

News of the incident emerged just days after Moyes confirmed he expects to remain in charge at the club next season no matter what happens.

Sunderland remain rooted to the foot of the table following Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Watford and are eight points adrift of safety ahead of Tuesday night's trip to Leicester.