England boss Gareth Southgate praises Paul Elliott when asked about next FA chair

England manager Gareth Southgate says the next FA chair should share the qualities Paul Elliott has shown during his time in the organisation.

The FA aims to hire a replacement for Greg Clarke, who resigned after making a string of offensive comments when giving evidence to MPs on Tuesday, by the end of March 2021 and promises an open and diverse recruitment process.

Elliott, the chairman of the FA’s inclusion advisory board, is being touted as a potential successor to Clarke, with Southgate quick to heap praise on the former Chelsea defender.

Asked if the next FA chair should be black or a woman, Southgate said: “It has to be the right person.

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“I think whoever comes in has to have an understanding of governance and operating at a high level at an important organisation.


“What I admire about someone like Paul Elliott is that he has committed himself to football administration. There are a lot of hours to that and a lot of meetings to attend that people don’t want to do. So the reforms that Paul has helped to put in place over the last few months deserve a lot of commendation.

“I don’t know if Paul is the right person for the role – that’s not a decision for me. But I’m just pointing out the type of qualities football administrators have to have.”

Elliott developed the FA’s Football Leadership Diversity Code, which launched last month, with the aim of tackling racism in English football and increasing representation of BAME people in executive and coaching roles.

‘Clarke had no alternative but to resign’

Southgate felt Clarke had no option but to resign after his comments but was saddened that his reign as FA chair would be remembered for this incident, rather than all the good he had done in the role.

“I think as he said himself the terminology he used in a number of areas was not acceptable,” added Southgate. “It does not reflect the view of the FA or what we as a team stand for.

“I don’t think he had any alternative but to resign. I have to caveat that a little bit, what’s a shame for him in particular, is that he has done a lot of work behind the scenes to support the diversity code and make a lot of in-roads 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 he is going to be remembered for the comments he has made. There is a balance for that because I don’t like to see individuals suffer as publicly as he has.”

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