FA needs to show it is serious about diversity, says Manchester United great Andy Cole

Cole, an integral part of the United side that won the treble in 1999, says the ball is firmly in the FA's court as to whether they show they are serious about diversity at the top of the game.

Agence France-Presse November 11, 2020 17:29:45 IST
FA needs to show it is serious about diversity, says Manchester United great Andy Cole

File image of FA chairman Greg Clarke.

London: Manchester United great Andy Cole has joined a growing chorus urging the Football Association (FA) to show they are serious about diversity when they choose the successor to former chairman Greg Clarke.

Clarke resigned on Tuesday after referring to "coloured footballers" when talking about diversity to British lawmakers on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

The 63-year-old also claimed South Asians and Afro-Caribbean people have "different career interests" on the basis of the make-up of the FA's IT department, as well as describing homosexuality as a "life choice".

Cole, an integral part of the United side that won the treble in 1999, says the ball is firmly in the FA's court as to whether they show they are serious about diversity at the top of the game.

"I think that's entirely up to them," he told the BBC on Wednesday.

"Now they are in a position to do just that.

"Unfortunately it has come around the way it has done, but they've been speaking about diversity for some time and now they are in a position to see how they can move forward at the FA, what are they prepared to do about it?"

Cole, who scored 121 goals in 275 appearances for United, hopes visible progress will be evident within six months.

"We need to make progress now. I'm hoping, seeing what we are going through now, that within six months there will be progress, and I want to see where we are at," said Cole.

"I just shake my head and I just laugh, because him (Clarke) being in that position he's supposed to be better — he's fighting the cause for diversity."

Cole's comments follow those of England central defender Tyrone Mings who said on Tuesday just prior to learning of Clarke's resignation the BAME community would welcome being represented by an FA chairman.

Cole, capped 15 times by England, said gestures aimed at tackling racism such as they used to do when he was a player are not sufficient.

"We used to wear t-shirts once a year or whatever it was, that's just not enough," he said.

"That's how I feel about it. When I talk about progression, it means we have to progress."

Cole's belief that gestures like taking a knee are no replacement for actions echo those of former Tottenham Hotspur striker Les Ferdinand, now director of football at second-tier Queens Park Rangers.

Cole's former United teammate Gary Neville also chipped in saying Clarke's words re-enforced his opinion that football required outside governance.

"Compelling evidence again yesterday as to why an independent regulator is required for football," tweeted Neville.

"Football cannot govern itself!"

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Wayne Rooney says English football must follow US example and ban children from heading ball
Sports

Wayne Rooney says English football must follow US example and ban children from heading ball

A study carried out in Scotland concluded professional footballers are around three and a half times more likely to die of dementia than the general population.

Former England Football Association chairman Greg Clarke resigns from FIFA Council
Sports

Former England Football Association chairman Greg Clarke resigns from FIFA Council

Clarke quit his role at the English governing body on Tuesday after making a series of "unacceptable" comments to a committee of lawmakers, including referring to "coloured footballers" in reference to black players.

Premier League: Manchester United 'must do better' despite ending home drought, says Bruno Fernandes
Sports

Premier League: Manchester United 'must do better' despite ending home drought, says Bruno Fernandes

Victory moves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men up to ninth and within seven points of early pace-setters Tottenham with a game in hand.