Soccer

Ian Wright: I do not trust the FA to pick right Greg Clarke successor

Ian Wright calls Greg Clarke’s resignation from FA chairman and FIFA roles ’embarrassing’ and claims the governing body CANNOT be trusted to pick a suitable replacement

  • Greg Clarke left his roles as FA chairman and FIFA vice-president this week 
  • Former chief made controversial comments in front of Parliament on Tuesday
  • ITV pundit Ian Wright branded the situation involving Clarke as ’embarrassing’
  • Wright does not believe the FA can be trusted to pick Clarke’s replacement well
  • Former England defender Ashley Cole says the job must go to the right person

Ian Wright has branded Greg Clarke’s actions leading to his resignation as Football Association chairman as ’embarrassing’ but does not trust the organisation to find a suitable replacement. 

Clarke stood down from his position as head of the FA this week after he was accused of making ‘lazy (and) racist stereotypes’ as well as homophobic remarks in a speech to Parliament on Tuesday. 

The 63-year-old, who also resigned from his £190,000-a-year role as FIFA vice-president on Thursday, made comments about British Asians working in the FA’s IT department, claimed homosexuality was a ‘life choice’ and used the term ‘coloured’ to describe BAME individuals. 

Ian Wright says the FA cannot be trusted to pick the right person for the FA chairman position

Greg Clarke (above) resigned from the role after several controversial comments this week

Wright, who called out Clarke over his comments after certain England players were subject to racist abuse in a match against Bulgaria in October 2019, said he could not understand how the ex-chairman believed what he saying was the right thing to do. 

Speaking to ITV, Wright said: ‘The worrying thing was this was the leader of an organisation that we are asking to change change in football and the chairman was using outdated racial stereotypes, (making comments) about gay people being a lifestyle choice and (considering) what the community is going through, it’s embarrassing. 

‘We are talking about someone who was the vice-president of FIFA, how can someone get through an interview without checking what he was saying (was right)?’

Clarke also stood down from his £190,000-a-year role as FIFA vice-president on Thursday

The FA now has a decision to make regarding Clarke’s successor, with Peter McCormick stepping into the role on an interim basis. 

There have been several calls for a former player, rather than a businessman like Clarke, to take on the role – with former Liverpool and England striker Emile Heskey revealing on Thursday that he is looking to apply for the role.

However, Wright claims that Clarke’s rise to the top of the FA shows that England’s governing body cannot be trusted to pick the right person for the role. 

Emile Heskey (above) has thrown his hat into the ring to replace Clarke as chairman of the FA

The former Arsenal striker added: ‘I don’t trust the people upstairs to make that decision, considering Greg Clarke got where he was. It should be someone who can grasp the actual intricacies of the job. 

‘It’s not easy but we want somebody who is qualified so they can cover the bases.’ 

Fellow ITV pundit Ashley Cole revealed he was disappointed with Clarke’s comments after Three Lions defender Tyrone Mings worked hard to promote the FA’s new diversity code it is pleading clubs to adopt. 

Cole said: ‘I think it should be the right person for the job, whether it is someone of an ethnic background, man or woman. Someone who I feel can gain the trust of the players. 

Fellow ITV pundit Ashley Cole revealed he was disappointed with Clarke’s comments 

‘We talk about the campaign that Tyrone Mings has been involved in and then someone doing an interview and it’s not following through on the conviction and the trust of the players which is the most important things. 

‘I don’t know who it should be but the players would agree it should be someone who they can trust and have the same beliefs that they have.’ 

Former Football League chairman Clarke had been Head of the FA since July 2016. 

Clarke’s most shocking comments from Tuesday’s hearing

CLARKE ON RACE

‘If I look at what happens to high-profile female footballers, to high-profile coloured footballers, and the abuse they take on social media… social media is a free-for-all.’

CLARKE ON RACE II

‘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.’

CLARKE ON SEXUALITY

‘The real issue is once you run out in front of 60,000 people and you decided on Monday that you wanted to disclose your sexuality – and I would never pressure anybody to disclose their sexuality – what I would want to do is to know that anybody who runs out onto the pitch and says, ‘I’m gay. I’m proud of it and I’m happy. It’s a life choice, and I’ve made it because my life is a better place’, I’d like to believe and I do believe they would have the support of their mates in the changing room.’

CLARKE ON WOMEN

‘I talked to a coach – and I’m not certain this is true – and said, ‘what’s the issue with goalkeepers in the women’s game?’ She said, ‘young girls, when they take up the game (aged) six, seven, eight, just don’t like having the ball kicked at them hard’, right? They prefer to kick it than have it kicked at them. We have to understand we need to look at different ways to bring women into the goalkeeper’s position.’




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