Lord Ouseley statement on FA Chairman Greg Clarke speech to FA Council
Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, has today (26 October) released a statement from our Chair, Lord Ouseley, in response to a speech made by Greg Clarke, Chairman of The Football Association (FA), to The FA Council this morning.
Statement from Lord Herman Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out:
“I welcome the statement of apology, contrition and a call to action made by Greg Clarke, Chairman of The Football Association (FA), at The FA Council meeting today.
“At Kick It Out, we acknowledge the good work done by The FA and we recognise that it is not an easy job to manage a large and complex organisation.
“However, 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 DCMS Parliamentary Select Committee.
“When you look at the recent success of England’s youth sides, particularly the achievements of the Under-17s men’s team, you will see a high level of diverse representation on the field. That is the only area in which English football seems to treat black and minority ethnic people fairly.
“Across the rest of the game, 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.
“Kick It Out has been pushing all the football authorities for 24 years to bring root and branch change to the game, and although there have been successes achieved with regards to equality, inclusion and cohesion, it is regrettable that it has taken the latest crisis of confidence in The FA to bring forward for considering radical proposals for change today.
“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.
“Despite their public support for Kick It Out, it is unlikely that those people at the top of football’s organisations are aware of what we stand for.
“If it wanted and genuinely respected an organisation like Kick It Out, The FA would have involved us from of the outset of the Eniola Aluko case to avoid the botched and flawed initial investigation which took place. It is more likely that this would have enabled them to achieve a proper and appropriate outcome – which they failed to do.
“As the details of the case did not begin to emerge until a national newspaper covered the story on 7 August, it was very difficult to offer any advice – not that I have confidence it would have been listened to.
“After being given full access to the information for the first time on 5 September, the following day I wrote to the Chairman and CEO offering advice on how to deal with the situation appropriately.
“However, I received a reply from the Chairman indicating their planned line of action, which effectively ignored some of my suggestions. To this date, I have never received a response or acknowledgement from the CEO.
“In The FA’s apparent ambition to effect change in football, it is willing to take the advice of expensive consultants and lawyers, who are not diverse and are unrepresentative.
“If the organisation wants to secure the trust of the public, they should be prepared to listen and involve people from different backgrounds across football, without ignoring the talented black and minority ethnic people who can help them.
“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.
“Had The FA had the common sense and decency to recognise that Aluko, who had already demonstrated her talent on the pitch by receiving 102 caps, they would have realised that she also had the intelligence and talent to help them solve the problem she had identified, and they would not be in their current situation. They obviously saw her as a non-entity, and that’s why she was treated as such – but they now know better.
“Proposals put forward today by the Chairman of The FA, including official whistleblowing procedures and another cultural review, are welcome but limited. Kick It Out Trustees will be meeting on 14 November to consider an outline plan that will be designed to deal with the current failings across the whole of football in its pursuit of equality, inclusion and cohesion.
“The FA now has a clear obligation along with all the other authorities across football to lead the charge and to ensure that the programmes of activity identified are implemented forthwith.
“It is the only way to rebuild trust and confidence, and whatever The FA Council and its Board decide, the reality is that time is running out and action is needed now.”