Industry reacts with condemnation as Greg Clarke resigns as FA Chair

11 Nov 2020

By: Sport Industry Group

FA Chairman Greg Clarke has resigned from his position in the wake of comments made to a DCMS Select Committee, which were widely condemned by the industry and the wider public.

Clarke, who had been in the role since 2016, has been replaced on an interim basis by FA Board member Peter McCormick.

After being summoned to a virtual hearing of a DCMS Select Committee to discuss his role in the controversial Project Big Picture proposals, Clarke made a string of inappropriate comments which were widely condemned by organisations within sport and individuals on social media.

The comments included a reference to ‘coloured footballers’, as well as the ‘different career interests’ held by people of South Asian and Afro Caribbean descent.

Kick It Out Chairman, Sanjay Bhandari said: "I was extremely disappointed to see Greg Clarke’s comments in the DCMS Select Committee.

“His use of outdated language to describe Black and Asian people as ‘coloured’ is from decades ago and should be consigned to the dustbin of history.

“Being gay is not a 'life choice' as he claimed too. The casual sexism of saying girls do not like balls hit at them hard is staggering from anyone, let alone the leader of our national game. It is completely unacceptable."

Clarke resigned, stating he had already been considering his position and that the controversy has ‘crystallised [his] resolve’ to step down.

He 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. 

“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.”

His resignation comes after The FA launched a Football Leadership Diversity Code, which 19 of the 20 Premier League clubs have signed up to. The code will see each of the organisations commit to tackling inequality across senior leadership positions and team operations as well as technical and coaching roles.

Several industry bodies, including Women in Football and FootballvHomophobia condemned the comments prior to Clarke's resignation, while Sports Minister Nigel Huddlestone also responded to the remarks.