FIFA said it was right for Greg Clarke to resign as English Football Association chairman over discriminatory comments and should decide whether he will also resign as a vice president of the world governing body.
Clarke was forced out of the FA on Tuesday within hours of making heavily criticized remarks on race, sexuality and gender during a British parliamentary hearing.
“FIFA’s zero tolerance position on discrimination remains steadfast and clear: any form of discrimination, including racism, sexism and homophobia, has no place in football,” FIFA said in a statement on Wednesday. “In the circumstances and given the nature of his comments, FIFA considers that Mr. Clarke did the right thing to resign as chairman of the FA yesterday.”
But Clarke remains a vice president of FIFA with a term running through 2023. Clarke was elected by the congress of European governing body UEFA, so FIFA would appear unable to remove Clarke from its ruling council without opening an ethics case.
“He is, of course, free to resign from the FIFA Council, just as he has resigned as chairman of the FA,” FIFA said. “It is for Mr. Clarke to take that decision.”
England manager Gareth Southgate said Clarke was right to leave the FA over his “unacceptable” testimony to the House of Commons committee overseeing sports.
“The upset internally was massive,” Southgate said.
The FA hopes to appoint a new chairman by the end of March and Southgate touted the credentials of former Chelsea and Celtic player Paul Elliott, the chairman of its inclusion advisory board.
“What I admire about someone like Paul Elliott is he has committed himself to football administration, there are a lot of hours to that,” Southgate said. “There are a lot of meetings to attend that a lot of people don’t want to do. The reforms Paul has helped to put in place deserve a lot of commendation.
“It isn’t for everybody. A lot of the people proposed, populist views, don’t really want to put the hours in or have that responsibility. It has to be a particular type of person and I’m highlighting Paul as I have great respect for what he has done within our organization.”
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