Independent directorship evangelist and corporate governance expert Gerry Brown is a long-time critic of the Football Association and its Chairman Greg Clarke over ongoing governance own goals, inequality and ineptitude. In February this year he commented, "The consequences of not having a strongly independent and effective Board to run our national game are enormous.” As time passes these failings are becoming more and more widely apparent.
In May, Brown noted, “Clarke’s FA turn a blind eye to governance and structural issues within his control. The FA deal with significant and troubling external situations so slowly that their inaction (and lack of updates or transparency) strongly suggests managerial ineptitude rather than measured carefully considered examination and analysis.” In September, Brown even produced a mild-mannered but forceful Clarke corporate governance report card on the key issues impacting the FA (inequality; child abuse; women’s football; transparency; due process etc).
Sadly, Brown’s FA corporate governance warnings found little traction in the business or sports media (notable exception Daniel Taylor) even when Greg Clarke made (March 6th, 2017) his advocacy for and leadership of corporate governance changes at the FA (in 2018!) a resignation issue. "This is a transformational leap forward and if the government don't accept this, I'm not sure what else we can do. If government don't want to accept it, who am I to argue but, of course, I will resign."
Interestingly, even then, the ten-member board (planned for 2018!) symptomatically revealed the malaise at the heart of the Football Association since it lacked dedicated black, Asian and minority ethnic background representation. Clarke brushed off those concerns with his trademark promises of jam tomorrow (possibly), “What I would like to see is a path to make sure that not only are we gender diverse but ethnically diverse. What I don't want this to be is empty words. I want to find a way to achieve it and be accountable. I just need a bit more time to get there.”
Gerry Brown notes, “After the horror show the FA endured giving evidence to the digital, culture, sport and media committee, it is a mystery why Greg Clarke hasn’t already proffered his resignation? He publicly threatened to do so if the government didn’t support his board changes and corporate governance plans for 2018 yet – with racism, child-abuse and cover up allegations swirling – Clarke can’t even manage the ordinary every day vanilla executive board functions the corporate governance of the FA requires. Greg Clarke is not fit for purpose and should resign with immediate effect so that the Football Association can put in place the leadership and corporate governance structures and protocols it so badly and urgently requires.”