Southgate reveals 'upset' at the FA over Clarke remarks

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Gareth Southgate (Getty)
Gareth Southgate (Getty)

England manager Gareth Southgate said Football Association chairman Greg Clarke had no option but to resign after making a series of inflammatory remarks when giving evidence to lawmakers on Tuesday.

Clarke, 63, resigned just hours after he referred to black players as "coloured", claimed the lack of footballers of a South Asian origin was due to "different career interests", described being gay as a "life choice" and that girls were often put off playing the game because they did not want to be hit hard by balls.

Southgate's England side have taken a strong stand against racist incidents.

A Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria last year was twice stopped by the referee after racist abuse was directed towards Southgate's players.

"I think as he said himself the terminology he used in a number of areas was not acceptable," said Southgate in a press conference on Wednesday.

"It doesn't reflect the view of the FA, doesn't reflect what we as a team stand for. I don't think he had any alternative but to take the decision he did to resign."

The FA has been challenged by a series of former players and administrators to prove it is serious about diversity in its process for appointing Clarke's successor.

Southgate, though, believes English football's governing body is far more diverse than is perceived outside the organisation.

"There are over 800 people who work at the FA from diverse national backgrounds, different sexuality, and members of the LGBT community. It's as diverse an organisation as I have been a part of," added Southgate.

"I think internally there was a lot of upset about what had been said.

"I think Greg recognised among all the other challenges of what he said yesterday would have provided, the upset of what he said internally was massive."

But when asked whether the next FA chairman should be black or female, Southgate insisted the role has to go to the best candidate.

"I think we have a lot of black and female staff at the FA and they would want the right person for the role," he said.

"That could be anybody from any background, anybody of any gender. I could easily grandstand and say it should be somebody from one part of the community but I don't think that would be correct."

However, Southgate was full of praise for former Chelsea defender Paul Elliott, who is chair of the FA's Inclusion Advisory Board and has played a leading role the Football Leadership Diversity Code.

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