• He was also criticised for comments he made referring to gay players making a “life choice”, the different career choices of people from black and Asian communities, and a coach telling him young female players did not like having the ball hit hard at them.
• “In the circumstances, and given the nature of his comments, Fifa considers that Mr Clarke did the right thing to resign as chairman of the FA,” Fifa said in a statement.
Football needs to be at the forefront of societal change, England manager Gareth Southgate has said following Greg Clarke’s resignation.
Clarke stepped down as chairman of the Football Association (FA) on Tuesday after using “unacceptable” language when referring to black players.
Southgate said there was “no alternative” but for Clarke to resign.
“We can’t just keep standing in front of the cameras talking about change,” said Southgate on Wednesday.
Clarke used an offensive term in reference to black players when he appeared in front of a government select committee.
He was also criticised for comments he made referring to gay players making a “life choice”, the different career choices of people from black and Asian communities, and a coach telling him young female players did not like having the ball hit hard at them.
“We are seeing a lot of change in society and football needs to be at the front of that,” added the England boss.
“What’s a shame for him [Clarke] is he has done a lot of work behind the scenes to support the diversity code and make inroads into relationships around Europe. But what he said wasn’t acceptable and there was no alternative but for him to go.”
The FA has said the process to replace Clarke will be “open and conform to the Diversity Code”.
England and Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings also urged the FA to offer equal opportunities for all candidates to improve representation within the game. Southgate praised Paul Elliot, the chairman of the FA’s inclusion advisory board and a reported contender for the role.
“The reforms Paul has helped to put in place deserve a lot of commendation,” he said. “What I admire about someone like Paul is he has committed himself to football administration. There are a lot of hours to that.”
Despite his resignation from the FA on Tuesday, Clarke remains a vice-president of football’s world governing body Fifa, a role he was elected to in February 2019.
Clarke has told BBC Sport that he is staying on in that role until March 2021 at the request of Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin in order to protect the European governing body’s voting rights until then.
“In the circumstances, and given the nature of his comments, Fifa considers that Mr Clarke did the right thing to resign as chairman of the FA,” Fifa said in a statement.
“He is, of course, free to resign from the Fifa Council, just as he has resigned as chairman of the FA. It is for Mr Clarke to take that decision.”
The Premier League has scrapped its winter break because of the crowded fixtures calendar and Southgate believes there could have been more collaboration over scheduling.
“The pandemic has thrown up all sorts of difficulties, but everybody’s tried to cram the programme into a smaller period and nobody has given way,” he said.
“We are going to see injuries and it’s a desperately sad situation because when you see the impact on an individual, it hits home even more. We could have adjusted the calendar in its entirety and all worked together. And people haven’t done that.”
Liverpool, who are already missing a number of key defensive players, could be without centre-back Joe Gomez for some time after he injured his knee in England training on Wednesday.
Southgate’s side are also due to play Iceland next Wednesday but the fixture is in doubt because of government travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The UK has a travel ban on non-UK visitors coming from Denmark, where Iceland are playing this weekend. Southgate said Germany could host the match, while Albania has also been discussed as an option.
“We’ll know more tomorrow. If we can’t play in England, it looks as though taking the game to Germany would be the strongest possibility for that,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ryan Sessegnon has withdrawn from the England Under-21s squad after being recalled by Hoffenheim over Covid-19 protocols in Germany.
Hoffenheim want their players to quarantine after a request from the German authorities and an increase in cases at the Bundesliga club. Sessegnon, who is on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, tested negative on Tuesday but the 20-year-old — who can play at left-wing and left-back — will miss the final two European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Andorra and Albania.