Greg Clarke U-turns on Fifa vice-president role and announces resignation with immediate effect

Former FA chairman insisted he would not resign on Thursday morning, only to reverse his decision two hours later

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
Thursday 12 November 2020 11:19
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FA chairman Greg Clarke apologises for saying 'coloured'

Greg Clarke has U-turned on his decision to remain Fifa vice-president and has resigned with immediate effect following a call with Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, just two hours after insisting he would remain in the role until next year.

Clarke resigned from his role at the top of the English game on Tuesday after making a series of controversial comments in front of MPs at a Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee hearing.

The 63-year-old sparked outrage with his remarks about race, homosexuality and gender, and confirmed that he tendered his resignation shortly after the calamitous appearance.

Clarke was expected to also stand down from his role as Britain’s vice-president at Fifa, a position that lands him £190,000-a-year and gives him a powerful say on the global governing body’s Council.

But he told Sky Sports on Thursday morning that following a conversation with Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, he has been swayed into staying in the role until the next Congress election on 2 March next year, despite calls for him to step down immediately.

Read more: Greg Clarke resigns as FA chairman

“I am staying purely at the request of Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin,” Clarke told Sky Sports.

However, that decision was quickly reversed just two hours later.

A Uefa statement read: “Following a telephone call this morning between Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin and Greg Clarke, they agreed with Greg Clarke’s proposal that he should step down with immediate effect from position as Uefa representative on Fifa Council.”

Clarke’s decision comes after Fifa backed his decision to step down from the FA, with the governing body also issuing a reminder that he is free to do so from their Council as the body operates a “zero tolerance” approach to any form of discrimination.

A Fifa spokesperson said: “Fifa's zero tolerance position on discrimination remains steadfast and clear: any form of discrimination, including racism, sexism and homophobia, has no place in football.

“In the circumstances and given the nature of his comments, Fifa considers that Mr Clarke did the right thing to resign as Chairman of the FA on Tuesday.

“Mr Clarke was elected to his position on the Fifa Council by Uefa and his term of office runs until 2023. He is, of course, free to resign from the Ffifa Council, just as he has resigned as Chairman of the FA. It is for Mr Clarke to take that decision.”

Clarke was one of three vice-presidents among Uefa alongside Ceferin and Hungary’s Csanyi Sandor, with eight vice-presidents in total across the six confederations. Following Clarke’s resignation, Uefa are unable to replace him until the next Congress meeting next year, meaning the European governing body lose a seat on the Fifa Council until the vacancy is filled and British football no longer has a voice on the decision-making process at the top of the game.

Uefa statutes state: “If a vice-president or person elected to Fifa Council vacates the position during term of office, Uefa shall elect a replacement until the next congress.”

The initial news was met with an angry response from former Manchester United defender Gary Neville, who is leading calls for complete reform across English football and, in particular, the FA.

“Unacceptable,” said Neville. “A resigned FA chairman stays on as a Fifa Vice President! FA have you got the guts to deal with this mess? Independent Regulator please ASAP!!

“He can resign from his post though and the FA can at least lead on this by asking him to step down publicly if he won’t! He’s embarrassed them enough.”

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