Chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association Ben Purkiss is reportedly under pressure to apologise after making a joke about Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane on Sunday, or he could be relieved of the position.
According to the Mirror's Darren Lewis, in his speech at the PFA awards, Purkiss jokingly referenced the goal Kane claimed against Stoke City earlier in April, which was awarded to him after a panel review: "Harry Kane is so prolific that he is able to score without touching the ball."
Purkiss privately apologised to the striker and as such has refused to do so again publicly, despite being urged to do so. Should he continue to refuse, "it is felt Purkiss' position could be untenable."
After making the joke, Purkiss was approached by "mortified" insiders, who felt both Kane and the PFA had been humiliated by the speech, which was unsuccessfully vetted prior to the dinner.
Kane has been the butt of many jokes since being awarded the goal. Wembley Stadium's official Twitter account also referenced it during Spurs' 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final:
During the same game, the FA Cup's official account made a joke at the 24-year-old's expense, suggesting he was in Chris Smalling's pocket. The tweet has since been deleted, and the FA apologised to both Spurs and United.
According to Lewis, "Kane and his family are furious" at the jokes that have been aimed in his direction, which they feel is "bullying," and both the player and Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino are "upset by the lack of respect shown towards him."
Purkiss says he has spoken to Kane after making his speech, though, and the England international was not offended.
"I said that he was so good he could score without touching the ball. I know for a fact he touched the ball. He was credited with the goal by an independent panel.
"I was joking at how ridiculous the coverage was as he is such a talented footballer. I contacted Harry to explain my comments, and he stated that he had not taken offence to my comments.
"I have utmost respect for Harry Kane and all our members. I have nothing but admiration for Harry."
Swindon Town defender Purkiss, 34, was elected PFA Chairman in November when he succeeded Ritchie Humphreys.