In Brief

Greg Clarke threatens to quit FA if MPs reject reforms

Football chief says he will take 'personal responsibility' as politicians debate future of Football Association

FA chairman Greg Clarke has said he will step down if sports minister Tracey Crouch does not accept his plans to reform the organisation.

The government is introducing a new code of governance for all sports governing bodies in the UK to make them accountable, transparent and diverse.

However, Damian Collins, chairman of the culture, media and sport committee, has also introduced a backbench motion calling for ministers to impose reform on the Football Association.

"The Government has given the FA a deadline of April to deliver progress on reforms or face losing up to £30m a year in public funding," reports Sky Sports. "On Thursday MPs will debate a non-binding motion of no-confidence in the FA in the House of Commons."

Clarke said he was "confident" that "substantial change" would occur, but there was "no mistaking his annoyance" over the debate, reports The Guardian.

He said: “Delivering real change is my responsibility and I firmly believe this is critical for the future of the game.

"If the government is not supportive of the changes when they are presented in the coming months, I will take personal responsibility for that. I will have failed. I will be accountable for that failure and would in due course step down from my role."

The situation is somewhat bizarre, says Marina Hyde of the Guardian.

"The culture, media and sport committee is composed of ten middle-aged white men, one woman and not a single BAME representative. So who better to demand reform of the Football Association?" she writes. "Back in December, you may recall, five elderly white men who used to be big at the FA wrote to parliament to explain that the FA was culturally incapable of reform because of elderly white men."

The debate, Hyde continues, will have little impact on the FA and is "more likely to reflect which MPs most want to get themselves on the news that day".

However, change could be coming, says Richard Conway of the BBC. "Not a lot has changed since the FA was founded in the mid-19th Century," he says, but Clarke appears determined to win government approval.

"There's growing indignation within Wembley over continually being called a failing organisation. There's a recognition that work needs to be done to increase diversity and to change a board structure whose members have been criticised for representing vested interests.

"But, as Clarke reflects, the FA's view is that it is very much meeting its role as a governing body."

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