England boss Gareth Southgate insists Greg Clarke had ‘no alternative’ but to resign as FA chairman following ‘unacceptable’ remarks
Greg Clarke had no option but to resign from his position as chairman of the Football Association on Tuesday, according to England boss Gareth Southgate.
The 63-year-old, who was in the role since 2016, issued an apology shortly after describing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) as ‘coloured’, acknowledging the term was not appropriate.
He also drew complaints for saying a women’s coach had told him that the lack of women’s goalkeepers was due to girls not liking the ball being kicked at them hard during a conversation with MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.
Clarke resigned later that evening and England manager Southgate says that was the only option for him to take.
“As he said himself, the terminology he used in a number of areas was not acceptable and doesn’t reflect the view of the FA and what we as a team stand for,” Southgate said.
“I don’t think he had any alternative than take the decision to resign.
“I have to caveat that a little bit. I think (with) Greg, what’s a shame for him in particular is that he’s done a lot of work behind the scenes to support the Diversity Code, to make a lot of inroads into relationships around Europe.
“When we had the incidents in Montenegro and Bulgaria, he was at the forefront of supporting the players and lobbying with UEFA for change.
“Unfortunately, of course, he’s going to be remembered for the comments he’s made.
“There is a balance to that because I don’t like to see individuals suffer as publicly as he has but, I repeat, what he said wasn’t acceptable and there was no alternative but for him to go.”
The FA hopes to appoint a new chairman by the end of March 2021 after Clarke’s ignominious exit.
Peter McCormick, who chairs the FA’s professional game board, has been appointed as interim chairman and will assist chief executive Mark Bullingham in the hunt for Clarke’s permanent successor.
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Bullingham said in a statement: “With other board directors, Peter and I are finalising the process for recruiting a new independent chair of the FA. Our aim is to have one in place by the end of the first quarter.
“Our process will be open and conform to the Diversity Code, ensuring that we are able to select the best candidate from a diverse talent pool.
“We know that football has the power to unite and bring people together. We have a clear and focused vision on how we will do that, improving opportunities within football by breaking down barriers so that we have an inclusive game that we can all be proud of.
“We absolutely recognise that there is more work to be done, but our commitment and passion to help improve lives, embrace diversity and create opportunities will remain fundamental to our organisation for years to come.”