Reshmin Chowdhury – broadcaster BT Sport and BBC Sport
I can’t believe how Greg Clarke can drop all these noises in one conversation. Especially someone who has all the tools and all the resources to train.
A friend of mine said it brilliantly, she said it was like a “Ctrl-Alt-Delete moment”. It really is a time when we think, “wow, we have to restart”. We all know it’s white, male, pale, stale. We all know it’s the people who are in power. We all know the FA Council is predominantly white, middle aged, middle class. It’s outdated, we all know, but Clarke’s comments just confirmed it to such an alarming degree.
I think it somehow reflects the silliness to move forward and the lack of desire to make changes. This does not reflect on everyone in the FA, which has made greater strides than before. But it just highlights something we already knew – that the people at the top are disconnected. He is not your usual person.
It’s about making the processes transparent, because nothing is transparent. Everything is buddy-buddy. My industry is, AM is, and many industries are. The new president must be someone who is a figure to identify with and unifier.
Ebru Koksal – President of Women in Football
It is unfortunate that a longtime leader of English football has made a big mistake, but it is also a great opportunity for the FA to recognize his blind spot and genuinely try to change his own image and restore confidence. The recruitment of the new chair will be a real signal of its desire for change. I think this is a great opportunity.
The recent work of the FA, be it grassroots football, women’s football, many other initiatives, unfortunately sometimes goes unnoticed when such things happen. Personally, I see it as a good opportunity for change.
I don’t think it’s really the person’s age, gender or background, but rather the right mindset that must come into play to build a collective organization. It’s not just about writing the policies and ticking the boxes, it’s about bringing in someone who has internalized the values ââthat football stands for and that he or she has integrated into his or her personal values.
Obviously, in the past, many large organizations and governing bodies have worked with executive search companies, but then they contact us when they need to expand the talent pool and find more diverse talent. So whether it’s Women in Football or Kick It Out, it’s really important this time that we’re involved earlier in the process and even in the planning phase with the FA.
John Barnes – former English footballer
I don’t think Greg Clarke was the right fit for the job because he doesn’t understand diversity and inclusion in a key role that should be at the forefront of fighting discrimination.
However, are we just taking those three examples of what he told the committee? I don’t judge him if he’s racist, homophobic, or sexist because most of us in the world are all racist, homophobic, or sexist to some extent.
If we just look at these three completely separate statements; of course he used the wrong language and he didn’t understand the fact that being gay is not a life choice but something that you are born with. Clarke was also wrong to use the term “colorful,” but he was actually pushing for black women and footballers to be protected from abuse on social media.
If we are talking about language, we should consider the NAACP in America – the National Association for the Advancement of People of Color, formed at the turn of the last century. In 2020, it’s still the NAACP – why aren’t they criticized for saying people of color?
Clarke is well-meaning, but he’s archaic and of a particular age, using language he doesn’t understand.
Intention is the most important thing here to move forward. We have to be very careful or we will just eliminate the ones who got caught and believe everything is fine and mistakenly think we have the right people in charge. These people can understand the language necessary not to get caught, but then what are their real intentions? The biggest problem we have is that in the upper echelons of every industry there are boardrooms filled with white middle class men over 50 like Greg Clarke.
We cannot and must not get rid of them, but on the contrary work with them for change because they are not going anywhere.