The abrupt resignation of Greg Clark from the Football Association comes during a global crisis.
On Tuesday, Clark apologized and resigned as FA president following the reference to BAME footballers as “colored” while presenting evidence to MPs.
Clark used this phrase when answering a question about the difficulty of exit for gay players in the men’s game due to a backlash on social media during a meeting of the Digital Culture, Media and Sports Committee on Tuesday.
Amidst a deadly pandemic, with the game losing £ 100m a month, the FA needs stable leadership more than ever.
Clark told Sky Sports News that he would “return to the business world” and commented on his deep appreciation for “the great people I worked with,” but would remain in his position as one of the world’s most powerful officials. Football until February.
Clark said that Clark’s resignation as Vice President of FIFA, in the entire FIFA Governing Council, has been postponed to protect UEFA’s voting rights until a replacement is appointed at a meeting within three months.
The governing body of English football has the final say in the game. From her “own stake” in the Premier League to grassroots and everything in between.
Clark praised the “excellent” executive leadership led by Mark Bullingham, the FA chief executive, and, in the short term, the role of the FA president was in the hands of an experienced Peter McCormick.
The new interim president, who is a lawyer, has been a member of the FA’s board of directors since 2015 and was acting president of the Premier League for 15 months after the sudden illness of Anthony Fry.
McCormick presides over the courts and appeals for the Premier League, the FA, and the governing body for match officials – and was awarded an OBE Medal for his charitable services earlier this year.
But what is the FA’s long-term ambition for one of the most influential positions in the game?
The Football Association Board of Directors, which includes England Football Association President Rick Barry, will identify and appoint “just in time”.
Actions will speak louder than any words in an elegant PowerPoint presentation.
In October, the FA launched its new Leadership Diversity Act to “drive diversity and inclusion across English football”.
In the words of the FA itself, “The goal is to move away from hiring practices that focus on personal networks.”
From Bert Milliship in 1981, Keith Wiseman, Geoff Thompson, Lord Triesman, David Bernstein, Greg Dyke and Greg Clark, the FA president has traditionally been held by white, middle-aged men.
By the end of 2020, is this an unexpected opportunity for a more diverse and comprehensive appointment of power and authority?
The FA Diversity Act stipulates that hiring will “be based on merit, to find the best person for the job from diverse talent lines”.
A key question – will the shortlisting of Clark’s top job reflect and represent the wider community?
Kick It Out: Clark’s Resignation ‘The Only Possible Outcome’
Kick It Out president Sanjay Bhandari felt that Clark’s comments were “amazing” and welcomed the swift action taken by the Football Association.
Tell Sky Sports News: “We’re not just talking about anyone here, we’re talking about the leader of our national game on a really big strategic issue for the Football Association, which leads to more diversity and inclusion, making everyone feel they belong in the game.”
“These were old positions that were really revealing themselves in comment after comment – a well-informed president or CEO would know exactly how to navigate that.
“This is not the first time, there have been previous incidents – such as referring to institutional racism as ‘fluff’.
“What it shows is that there is a basic position that is really not the correct position to lead the English game.”
Mings: There is no shame in admitting that we have a long way to go
Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings was asked to comment on reports of Clark’s willingness to resign, which were later confirmed by the FA while speaking at a press conference in England.
The defender said: “I will repeat my view that we still have a very long way to go, and there is nothing wrong with that.
“There is no shame in knowing that we can all improve, so there is no shame in knowing that we all have to have uncomfortable conversations, because while it does not affect large proportions of society or society, it affects some of its segments.
“ Football is such a diverse society that we have to be aware of what is right for each other and we have to be careful and aware of the terms we use.
“I will not comment much on that, but I am sure there will be other people angry as well across the country.”
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