FA under pressure as politicians debate whether they have reformed sufficiently to retain public funding.
Football Association chairman Greg Clarke says he will resign if the English football’s governing body cannot win government support for its reform plans.
The UK parliament is to debate a motion of no confidence in the FA on Thursday after five former FA executives said the governing body had failed to “self-reform”.
Clarke “strongly disputes” the motion, but accepts that changes are required.
“I don’t believe that the FA is failing football,” he said.
The FA had a set of proposals “to improve our governance”, which it would ratify and then take to sports minister Tracey Crouch for her approval.
“Delivering real change is my responsibility and I firmly believe this is critical for the future of the game,” Clarke added.
“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 Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee will examine whether the FA can “comply fully with its duties”.
But Clarke said the FA was “not sitting idly by”, adding: “Change won’t be easy, but I am confident it will happen – and it will be substantial.”
He says the governing body needs to:
- Be more diverse;
- Be more open about decision-making;
- Better represent those playing the game.
In July, Crouch threatened to withdraw public funding for the FA if it did not implement reform.
Select committee chairman Damian Collins MP revealed on Friday that the FA had been given six months to meet the government guidance on best practice for sports governance but had failed to do so.
However, Clarke said he hoped those attending the debate were aware of “the FA’s duties and the great work we are actually doing”.
“Many people hear talk of an old-fashioned FA, but they don’t actually realise how it works or what it does. That’s a real shame.”
Clarke said the FA was “supporting the game from top to bottom” and:
- It had invested over £65m into grassroots football last year
- It was adapting to flexible formats of the game, with 12 million people playing every year.
- It had a plan in place to double its number of female players by 2020.
- It provided £22m every year for new playing facilities.