Greg Clarke has quit as Football Association chairman after a disastrous appearance in front of MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.
Here the PA news agency looks at what happened, and where we go from here.
What has happened?
Our response to comments made today by Greg Clarke at the DCMS Select Committee 👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/uZ7Iep4PMt
— Kick It Out (@kickitout) November 10, 2020
Clarke’s DCMS appearance was primarily to talk about his role in the controversial Project Big Picture proposals, but he quickly got himself involved in much, much worse.
He had to apologise for using the word “coloured” in one answer, and in another appeared to describe sexuality as a “life choice”. Both comments were heavily criticised by Kick It Out’s executive chair Sanjay Bhandari.
He also drew criticism for suggesting different ethnic groups had “different career interests” when talking about the number of South Asians who worked in the FA’s IT department, another comment which Bhandari pulled him up on.
“I was particularly concerned by the use of lazy racist stereotypes about South Asians and their supposed career preferences. It reflects similar lazy stereotypes I have heard has been spouted at club academy level. That kind of attitude may well partially explain why South Asians are statistically the most under-represented ethnic minority on the pitch.”
Was that it?
No – he also drew criticism for comments about girls’ football. He said: “I talked to a coach – and I’m not certain this is true – about ‘what’s the issue with goalkeepers in the women’s game?’
“She said, ‘young girls, when they take up the game, six, seven, eight, just don’t like having the ball kicked at them hard, right? They prefer to kick it than have it kicked at them.”
What has Clarke said since?
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.
— The FA (@FA) November 10, 2020
In his resignation statement, Clarke said: “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.”
What happens now?
Peter McCormick is now the interim chairman. McCormick runs his own legal practice based in Harrogate and is chairman of the FA’s professional game board. The FA is yet to set out the process for the appointment of his successor, but the preferred candidate would need to be approved by the FA Council.
Doesn’t Clarke also work for FIFA?
Yes, he sits on its ruling Council. Clarification on his position from FIFA is still to come. Article 33.8 of its statutes states: “Any vice-president or other member of the Council who is permanently or temporarily prevented from performing his official function shall be replaced by the members of the relevant confederation which elected such vice-president or member for the remaining period of office.”