He had to go.
You don’t like to see people lose their jobs but Greg Clarke’s appearance in front of the DCMS Select Committee rendered his position completely untenable.
His remarks, insulting such a wide cross-section of supporters and people working within the game, were the kind of thing you’d expect from a leaked phone transcript of unguarded remarks.
Not on camera in front of the government for all the world to see. But then guys like Clarke, at the top of the game, have for too long been used to being able to say such things unchallenged.
Roaming around in football’s equivalent of Jurassic Park, they’ve given the illusion of taking the game’s racism, representation and diversity crisis seriously while freely using the kind of language in private that would see a player or manager punished.
Despite being one of the three most powerful men in the English game, he’d been declining interview requests for months. Now we know why.
He may have apologised for his use of the term “coloured footballers” but how does somebody at the top of the game even use that term in the first place?
Perhaps if there were some – any – black members of the FA board they’d have saved him from himself. Clarke has no excuses.
The FA launched its own diversity code just two weeks ago, for goodness’ sake.
How does it throw its weight around, demanding clubs and footballing bodies get their act together when its public face shows it still to be living in the dark ages?
Here’s Clarke reinforcing a stereotype that would have had some of the FA’s younger, more progressive staff wincing.
“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.”
It is the kind of racial profiling that limits opportunities and continues stacking the odds against black and Asian people within football.
For anyone convinced that the messaging campaigns are truly addressing its crises below the surface, Clarke has provided a reality check.
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