September 25, 2021

Ferdinand not interested in FA chairman job

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Les Ferdinand is not interested in becoming the new chairman of the Football

The 53-year-old QPR director of football has been mentioned as a possible candidate to succeed Greg Clarke, who resigned on Tuesday after making a series of controversial remarks in an appearance before a parliamentary committee.

However, it is understood Ferdinand is focused on his role with the Sky Bet Championship club.

Greg Clarke resigned as FA chairman after making offensive comments before the DCMS committee 1:14
England boss 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

Ferdinand is one of a tiny number of black executives working in the professional game, and enjoyed a distinguished playing career with QPR, Newcastle and Tottenham as well as winning 17 senior England caps.

He has been outspoken on the game’s approach to diversity matters, and said in September the impact of players taking the knee had been “diluted”, adding in a statement on the club’s website that the gesture was now “not dissimilar to a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge”.

Les Ferdinand
Image: Ferdinand made 17 appearances for England during his playing career

Ferdinand is understood to be a member of Football’s Black Coalition (FBC) which was launched last month, and which will seek to push governing bodies to do more to tackle racism within the game.

Paul Elliott, the chair of the FA’s inclusion advisory board, is reportedly a contender to succeed Clarke, as is the organisation’s head of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell.

Dinesh Gillela 0:29
Bournemouth’s Dinesh Gillela thinks the FA have a real chance to appoint somebody from an ethnic minority as its new chairman

Clarke, who has also stood down as a vice-president of the game’s world governing body FIFA, apologised during the appearance in front of MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee for using the word “coloured”.

He also said South Asians had “different career interests” to people from an Afro-Caribbean background, suggested a person’s sexuality was a “life choice” and recounted an anecdote about being told girls were afraid of having a football kicked at them.

The FA has appointed professional game board chair Peter McCormick has Clarke’s interim replacement.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said he hoped a permanent successor to Clarke would be in place by the end of March next year.

Southgate: Next FA chair should have Elliott’s qualities

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: Paul Elliott attends the London Football Awards on March 2, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by John Phillips/John Phillips/Getty Images 2:06
Southgate will not endorse any one candidate to be the new FA chairman but says the FA’s Paul Elliott has shown a willingness to put in the hard work that such a role requires

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

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.

preview image 9:57
Former DCMS committee chair Damian Collins and former Chair of the FA Race Equality Advisory Board Yunus Lunat discuss what needs to happen to football’s governing body following the resignation of Clarke

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