Former The Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie is set to leave the paper following his controversial comments about Everton midfielder Ross Barkley.
The 70 year-old media figure was suspended earlier this year after comparing Barkley – who has a Nigerian grandfather – to a gorilla.
According to the Financial Times, Mackenzie and The Sun are in the process of negotiating his departure. BBC media editor Amol Rajan said: "Now we know he will not be asked to contribute to the paper again".
In his controversial column from April, Mackenzie said that looking into Barkley's eyes had given him a "similar feeling when seeing a gorilla at the zoo […] certain not only are the lights not on, there is definitely nobody at home." The article also placed a picture of Barkley next to one of a gorilla.
The paper soon apologised for the article as it whipped up controversy on social media, stating that they were unaware of Barkley's background. They then removed it from their website.
Mackenzie is perhaps most famous for overseeing The Sun's coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy, in which the paper laid the blame for the 96 fatalities almost entirely at the feet of "drunken" Liverpool fans, under the headline "The Truth". The story was eventually revealed to be a complete fabrication.
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson called for Mackenzie to be sacked over his Barkley article, describing it as a "racial slur" and a "disgrace".