Greg Clarke resigns as FA chairman: What now for the Football Association?

Sky Sports News' chief reporter Bryan Swanson answers key questions over the FA's future, after an extraordinary 48 hours that began with Greg Clarke giving evidence to MPs regarding the huge impact of coronavirus on football ended with him no longer in a job.

Former FA chairman Greg Clarke pictured before a 2018 World Cup qualifying match in 2017
Image: Greg Clarke apologised for his comments before announcing later he had resigned from his position as FA chairman

After the resignation of Greg Clarke as chairman, and criticism of the Football Association's diversity and inclusivity, where does the governing body go from here? Sky Sports News' chief reporter Bryan Swanson answers key questions over the FA's future...

What's the feeling within the FA?

There is a sense of disappointment. Greg Clarke's resignation was swiftly accepted, and they have consistently stressed his language was not appropriate.

"His words simply do not reflect the views of the FA, our people and the organisation we are today." says Mark Bullingham, the FA chief executive.

Mark Bullingham (copyright The FA)
Image: FA chief executive Mark Bullingham says the governing body hopes to appoint a new chairman by the end of March 2021 (Picture courtesy of the FA)

The FA is used to life under intense scrutiny but normally when its England teams are competing in major competitions.

Some seasoned observers of football administration were surprised at the speed of developments on Tuesday, as Clarke left his position less than five hours after his offensive and "unacceptable" comments in parliament.

What's the FA's priority?

Their top priority is to find Clarke's replacement, and the FA has promised there will be a diverse shortlist of candidates.

The FA's Football Leadership Diversity Code states that hiring will be "on merit, to find the best person for the job from diverse talent pipelines."

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England manager Gareth Southgate says Greg Clarke had no choice but to resign over his 'not acceptable' terminology, but also points out that the former FA Chairman has done important work behind the scenes, notably on the Diversity Code

"Our process will be open and conform to the Diversity Code, ensuring that we are able to select the best candidate from a diverse talent pool," says Bullingham.

The FA has acknowledged they have been far from perfect - "we are on a journey" - and they know their next Chair needs to be selected from a pool of candidates as diverse and inclusive as possible.

What are the main concerns of former top executives?

David Bernstein and Greg Dyke were in charge of the FA between 2011 and 2016.

Both officials have told Sky Sports News they remain concerned over the future direction of the FA, particularly involving its structure.

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Former FA chairman David Bernstein tells Sky Sports News he doubts the shortlist for Greg Clarke's replacement will be diverse and inclusive

Bernstein raised doubts over whether there will be a diverse shortlist for the new FA Chair and Dyke's advice to any new recruits was stark: "Don't take the job!" he said.

When will a new FA Chair be appointed?

Bullingham says the FA Board aims for an appointment to be made "as soon as possible."

A deadline has not been set but it would be a big surprise if the top job wasn't permanently filled by the end of March.

Is the interim FA Chair independent?

Peter McCormick has been appointed to his interim role with the "full backing" of the Board.

The FA say he has a "wealth of experience" across a number of roles within football but, as a former acting chairman of the Premier League from 2014-2015, he must ensure he balances the needs of interests across every level of the game.

Is Greg Clarke still in a senior position in football?

Not any more, as Clarke also resigned from his role as FIFA vice-president following a telephone call with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin on Thursday morning.

Clarke had previously told Sky Sports News: "I am staying on as a FIFA vice-president until the UEFA Congress election in March purely at the request of UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin to protect the UEFA vote."

However, Clarke stepped down with immediate effect. A UEFA statement read: "Following a telephone call this morning between the UEFA President and Greg Clarke, they agreed with Greg Clarke's proposal that he should step down with immediate effect from his position as a UEFA representative on the FIFA Council."

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Following the departure of his successor as FA Chairman Greg Clarke, Greg Dyke calls for a restructuring of the whole government of football - but says he is not confident that it will happen

How much damage has been done to the FA's reputation?

There is no doubt this has been damaging, at least from a perception point of view.

We remain in the grip of a global pandemic. The FA needs stable leadership more than ever to deal with the immense uncertainty, at every level of the game, in the future.

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