England’s Tyrone Mings: FA appointing black chairman would be a huge step forward
Greg Clarke resigned as chairman of the governing body on Tuesday, having used the word “coloured” among other controversial comments before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee earlier in the day.
The incident occurred just a fortnight after the FA launched its new diversity code, which aims to ensure more candidates from ethnic minorities can land top jobs.
Mings was involved in the code’s creation and the Aston Villa defender said Clarke’s comments showed “we still have a long way to go and this probably proves it”.
Asked what it would mean to have a black man or woman as the next FA chairman, he said: “Of course it would be a huge step. That’s what it would be.
“It would be I guess everything that a lot of people have worked for. A lot of people more senior than myself. A lot of people who have been fighting for this cause for a lot longer than myself.
“But ultimately that isn’t what we’re asking for. We’re not necessarily asking for the next chairman or chief to be black.
“What we’re asking for is equal opportunities for both black and white people, or ethnic minorities.
What we're asking for really is equal opportunities for everybody to have a fair crack of the whip.
“So the opportunities to be equal, the candidates themselves to be rightly qualified for the job because I don’t think anybody would want the job – whether you were black or white – if you weren’t qualified for it and you weren’t well equipped to be successful in that role.
“So we’re not necessarily asking for that as a sign of, ‘we’ve made it now’ or, ‘this is what we’re fighting for’. What we’re asking for really is equal opportunities for everybody to have a fair crack of the whip.”
Mings faced the media ahead of England’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on Thursday.
But Clarke’s comments understandably dominated the agenda just a day after the FA’s latest update on ‘In Pursuit of Progress’ – its three-year equality, diversity and inclusion strategy.
“Absolutely (the goal is to have more representation at managerial and coaching levels),” the England international said. “I don’t think that’s bad for the game whatsoever.
“Like I said, it’s not necessarily the stuff that you can see, it’s not necessarily the visual stuff. It’s not necessarily the black people stood on the side. It’s about how they got there.
“It’s about the pathways that they have, it’s about the equal opportunity that they have to get those jobs.
“I think that’s what we’re trying to create with the code and I think that’s what will give us real lasting change.
“There’s no point placing someone there, them failing and then saying, ‘Oh, we tried’. It’s about how can we improve the process.”