Gareth Southgate admits Greg Clarke had 'no alternative' but to resign

Gareth Southgate admits Greg Clarke had ‘no alternative’ but to resign following car-crash parliamentary appearance… but England boss adds it ‘is a shame’ given the work he did to launch FA’s diversity code

  • Gareth Southgate has addressed the resignation of FA chairman Greg Clarke 
  • The England manager believes Clarke had ‘no alternative’ but to leave his role
  • Clarke resigned after a disastrous appearance at a parliamentary panel on Tuesday in which he used the term ‘coloured footballers’ in his address 

England boss Gareth Southgate said there was ‘no alternative’ but for Greg Clarke to resign as chairman of the Football Association.

Clarke quit on Tuesday night after a car-crash parliamentary appearance where he made a reference to ‘coloured’ footballers among an array of other offensive gaffes. 

He said: ‘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. I don’t think he had any alternative than to take the decision to resign.

Greg Clarke resigned as chairman of The FA after using the term ‘coloured’ footballers

Speaking on Wednesday, England boss Gareth Southgate felt Clarke had ‘no alternative’

‘What’s a shame for him is he has done a lot of work behind the scenes to support the diversity code and make inroads into relationships around Europe.

‘Unfortunately he is going to be remembered for the comments he made. There is a balance to that as I don’t like to see people suffer so publicly as he has. But what he said wasn’t acceptable and there was no alternative but for him to go.’ 

During Clarke’s appearance in front of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Clarke also made offensive remarks about South Asian and Afro-Caribbean people.

‘If you go to the IT department at the FA, there’s a lot more South Asians than there are Afro-Caribbeans. They have different career interests,’ he said. 

Clarke accepted his comments were ‘unacceptable’ in his resignation statement on Tuesday

Clarke also described homosexuality as ‘a life choice’ and spoke disparagingly about the women’s game. 

On homosexuality in football, Clarke said: ‘The real issue is once you run out in front of 60,000 people and you decided on Monday that you wanted to disclose your sexuality – and I would never pressure anybody to disclose their sexuality – what I would want to do is to know that anybody who runs out onto the pitch and says, “I’m gay. 

‘I’m proud of it and I’m happy. It’s a life choice, and I’ve made it because my life is a better place”, I’d like to believe and I do believe they would have the support of their mates in the changing room.’ 

And on the women’s game. he said: ‘I talked to a coach – and I’m not certain this is true – and said, “what’s the issue with goalkeepers in the women’s game?” She said, “young girls, when they take up the game (aged) 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. We have to understand we need to look at different ways to bring women into the goalkeeper’s position.’ 

In his resignation statement Clarke, 63, admitted that comments were ‘unacceptable’.

 Southgate was full of praise for Paul Elliott, who was crucial in launching FA’s diversity code

In the short-term he will be replaced by long-serving Board member Peter McCormick as interim Chairman. 

The FA hopes to appoint a new chairman by the end of March 2021 and Southgate wants to see the right person for the job land the role.

Paul Elliott, the chairman of the FA’s inclusion advisory board, has been reported as a contender, and Southgate was glowing in his praise for the former Chelsea and Celtic defender.

He said: ‘I think we have a lot of black and female staff and they would all want the right person for the role, that could be anyone from any background and gender, it has to be the right person.  

‘What I admire about someone like Paul Elliott is he has committed himself to football administration, there are a lot of hours to that.

‘There are a lot of meetings to attend that a lot of people don’t want to do. The reforms Paul has helped to put in place deserve a lot of commendation.’

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