Ellen White welcomes Greg Clarke resignation over ‘unacceptable’ comments

England striker Ellen White has no doubt it was right for Greg Clarke to step down as Football Association chairman after his “unacceptable” comments this week.

White has also stressed the importance of the appointment of Clarke’s successor and spoken of a “massive opportunity to highlight more diversity”.

Clarke resigned on Tuesday after making a number of offensive remarks before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, which included using the word “coloured” to describe black players.

Greg Clarke resigned on Tuesday after his appearance in front of a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee (PA).
Greg Clarke resigned on Tuesday after his appearance in front of a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee (PA).

The 63-year-old also suggested people from different ethnic groups had “different career interests”, appeared to suggest someone’s sexuality was a “life choice” and said a women’s coach had told him that the lack of women’s goalkeepers was due to girls not liking the ball being kicked at them.

Asked for her reaction to Clarke’s comments, White said on Thursday: “I think they are unacceptable. They shouldn’t be spoken in football, or any time.

“It was the right decision for him to step down and we have to look to the future now of educating and moving forward to eradicate these comments.”

The Manchester City player added: “(I’m) definitely against everything he said. It’s all about being educated, even when you are at the top, and also throughout football, the grassroots, and everyone, the way that we speak.

“I think that’s really important, to be educated in those matters.”

The FA’s head of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell is among the names to have been reported as contenders to succeed Clarke, who has also stepped down from his role as a FIFA vice-president.

Paul Elliott, chairman of the FA’s inclusion advisory board, and Bobby Barnes, the deputy chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, are two others being mentioned.

When asked about the opportunity the FA now had in terms of the appointment of a new chair and diversity, White said: “I think it is a massive opportunity to highlight more diversity within the whole FA.

“It will be a really important appointment, who comes in next. But I think it will be really, really important to have more diversity in the whole FA really.”

The FA's head of women's football Baroness Sue Campbell is a reported contender to succeed Clarke (Steven Paston/PA).
The FA’s head of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell is a reported contender to succeed Clarke (Steven Paston/PA).

City boss Gareth Taylor said he would like the person who comes in at the FA to be “someone who is fair and someone who will fight for these rights and equality.”

Taylor also said, with regard to Clarke’s comments, that “considering the amount of quality we’ve seen recently from the goalkeepers in the women’s game, (it) is a bit concerning.”

City goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck and Everton counterpart Sandy MacIver both produced impressive performances in the recent Women’s FA Cup final.

Giving her thoughts on Clarke’s remarks, City full-back Esme Morgan told the PA news agency: “Those comments are difficult to take, but those of us within the game know it is going in the right direction.

Esme Morgan says Clarke’s comments were “difficult to take” (Barrington Coombs/PA).

“It’s always disappointing to hear when people are critical of the game, especially when it is unfair in my opinion.”

Fellow defender Gemma Bonner said: “I think in general there is still a lot of discrimination, whether it be racism, sexism, whatever it is – I think it is still clear that in the day-to-day life in society, it’s still a problem.

“I think sport can be so powerful in coming together. I think there is a lot of amazing initiatives that are being backed and the more we can educate people and get behind it as players, and use our positions almost as role models, we can help change the perceptions, change the attitudes.”

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