Greg Clarke resigns as FA chairman after controversial comments at DCMS hearing

By PA Sport Staff
·4-min read

Greg Clarke has resigned as chairman of the Football Association in the wake of his remarks to MPs on Tuesday.

Clarke was earlier forced to apologise after he used the word “coloured” among other controversial comments before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

The FA said: “We can confirm that Greg Clarke has stepped down from his role as our chairman.

“Peter McCormick will step into the role as interim FA chairman with immediate effect and the FA Board will begin the process of identifying and appointing a new chair in due course.”

Clarke was criticised by anti-discrimination group Kick It Out after saying that black and South Asian people had “different career interests” from each other, and also drew complaints for saying a coach had told him that the lack of women’s goalkeepers was due to girls not liking the ball being kicked at them.

Stonewall UK was among those who condemned Clarke when he insinuated that being gay was a “life choice”.

Clarke’s remarks came just two weeks after the FA launched a new diversity code, which aims to ensure more candidates from ethnic minorities can land top jobs.

The FA added: “We would also like to reaffirm that as an organisation, we are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to promote diversity, address inequality, and tackle all forms of discrimination in the game.”

The purpose of the FA chief appearing before the committee had been to discuss the governance of the game, particularly related to the financial rescue package from the Premier League to the EFL and also the recent revelations of his involvement in Project Big Picture discussions.

But Clarke ended up creating a new storm for English football with a series of controversial remarks and announced his resignation hours later.

In a statement on the FA’s website, Clarke said: “As a person who loves football and has given decades of service to our game, it is right that I put the interests of football first.

“2020 has been a challenging year and I have been actively considering standing down for some time to make way for a new chair now our CEO transition is complete and excellent executive leadership under Mark Bullingham is established.

“My unacceptable words in front of Parliament were a disservice to our game and to those who watch, play, referee and administer it. This has crystallised my resolve to move on.

“I am deeply saddened that I have offended those diverse communities in football that I and others worked so hard to include.

“I would like to thank my friends and colleagues in the game for the wisdom and counsel they have shared over the years and resign from the FA with immediate effect.”

England defender Tyrone Mings was asked about Clarke’s comments at a Three Lions press conference.

He said: “I will reiterate my point that we do still have a very, very long way to go, and there is no shame in that.

“There is no shame in knowing we can all improve, there is no shame in knowing we all have to have uncomfortable conversations, because while it does not affect large proportions of society or the community, it does affect some segments of it.

“Football is such a diverse community that we have to be aware of what is appropriate for one another and we have to be careful and mindful of the terminology which we use.

“I won’t comment too much on that, but I am sure there will be other people around the country who are angry as well.”

Former DCMS committee chair Damian Collins said on Twitter: “Greg Clarke’s departure as FA chairman should be a moment for fundamental reform of the governance of football in England.

“We need a body that shows real leadership on player development and welfare, fan engagement, inclusion and financial sustainability