‘There was no alternative’: England coach Gareth Southgate backs Greg Clarke’s decision to resign from FA

Clarke stepped down after using the the word ‘coloured’ to describe black players while also making controversial remarks about gay people and women

Alex Pattle
Wednesday 11 November 2020 20:16
FA chairman Greg Clarke apologises for saying 'coloured'

Gareth Southgate has supported Greg Clarke’s decision to resign from his position at the Football Association (FA) following the former chairman’s remarks about black players, women and gay people this week.

Clarke stepped down as chairman on Tuesday after using the the word “coloured” to describe black players while also suggesting that being gay was a “life choice” and that a lack of goalkeepers in women’s football had resulted from their fear of being hit with the ball.

And Southgate said there was no other option for Clarke but to resign in light of the controversial comments.

"Well, I think, as he said himself, the terminology he used in in a number of areas was not acceptable and doesn't reflect the view of the FA, doesn't reflect what we as a team stand for.

Read more: FA sets date to appoint replacement for disgraced chairman Greg Clarke

"I don't think he had any alternative but to take the decision he did to resign.

"I have to caveat that a little bit. I think [with] Greg, what's a shame for him in particular is that he's done a lot of work behind the scenes to support the diversity code, to make a lot of inroads into relationships around Europe.

"When we had the incidents in Montenegro and Bulgaria, he was at the forefront of supporting the players and lobbying with Uefa for change.

"Unfortunately, of course, he's going to be remembered for the comments he's made.

"There is a balance to that, because I don't like to see individuals suffer as publicly as he has, but, I repeat, what he said wasn't acceptable and there was no alternative but for him to go."

When asked whether the next FA chairman should be black or female, Southgate said: "I think we have a lot of black and female staff at the FA and they would all say that what they would want would be the right person for the role.

"And that could be anybody from any background, that could be anybody of any gender. But it has to be the right person.

"So, I could easily grandstand here and say, 'yes, it should be somebody from one part of the community,' but I don't think that would be correct either. I think whoever comes in has to have an understanding of governance, has to have an understanding of operating at a high level at an important organisation.

"I must say that there are often a lot of names put forward and it's easy in the background to have opinions on things without having any responsibility… It isn't for everybody and a lot of the people that are proposed, populist views, don't really want to put the hours in and don't really want to put the hard yards in or have that responsibility.

"It's an enormous responsibility and it will lead to a lot of criticism a lot of the time, so it's got to be a very particular type of person."

While speaking on Wednesday, Southgate also confirmed that Liverpool defender Joe Gomez had sustained a knee injury while training with the national team.

The centre-back has since returned to his club to undergo scans, with Southgate saying: “We’re all hopeful for him, but it’s not a good situation… We can’t speculate on the exact nature of the injury.

“We’re hoping as much as we possibly can and praying that it’s not going to be a long-term one, but we just have to see.”

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