Governing body’s proposals after ‘shambolic’ episode ‘limited but welcome’
ANTI-RACISM campaigners welcomed Football Association (FA) chair Greg Clarke’s speech to the body’s council yesterday, in which he admitted the FA had “lost the trust of the public,” but warned that far more must be done.
Clarke promised a “top to bottom” review of the culture at the St George’s Park national football centre.
Anti-racism group Kick It Out chair Lord Herman Ouseley said that while Clarke’s admission was good, “the FA must reflect on the dilemma it now faces as a result of last week’s shambolic exposure of its leadership, competence and discriminatory treatment of black and minority ethnic people in front of” the Commons sport committee.
In his 2,600-word speech to the FA council’s autumn meeting yesterday, Clarke described his appearance at the committee “a bruising personal experience and the culmination of a very damaging episode for the organisation.”
Clarke and other FA officials were grilled by MPs over the FA’s handling of the allegations of bullying and racism made by England striker Eni Aluko against former England women’s team manager Mark Sampson.
Ouseley said that “it will not be easy to rebuild trust and confidence after last week’s shenanigans — I am still stunned and shocked at the performance of this country’s football leadership and find it difficult, when asked, to maintain any defence of their public performance last week.
“It is clear that black and minority ethnic people are not trusted to be in the boardroom, senior management, leadership, coaching, technical and administration positions — and this is not a new realisation,” Ouseley said, decrying that “it has taken the latest crisis of confidence in the FA to bring forward for considering radical proposals for change today.”
He also raised questions about the FA’s actual support for the work of Kick It Out, saying that if the FA really respected the anti-racism body it would have involved Kick It Out “from the outset of the Eniola Aluko case to avoid the botched and flawed initial investigation which took place.”
“It is inconceivable that the people who botched the first investigation are still in their posts. The initial failures compounded subsequent processes, and the FA’s failures in this respect only became known as a consequence of media exposure,” he stormed.
Describing Clarke’s proposals yesterday as “welcome but limited,” Ouseley warned that “the reality is that time is running out and action is needed now.”