2017 04 21 Retrieve
[Ugo Ehiogu: Former England defender dies after suffering cardiac arrest] He was a hugely popular figure across English football but particularly at Aston Villa and Middlesbrough. He was also close to many at Wembley and St George’s Park through his England connections - both as a player and as a coach
2019 10 14 Retrieve
[FA chairman Greg Clarke was in attendance at Vasil Levski National Stadium, which was partially closed as a punishment for previous incidents of racist abuse from some Bulgarian supporters] I was up in the stands with some of the FA staff, watching the game and we heard some sounds which sounded like money chanting. I came down, I heard more at the side of the pitch and I saw some activity, [by] a group of people in behind one of the corner flags, which was appalling.
I would like to see a stringent review by UEFA, I know they take racism very, very seriously, so if we say zero tolerance, zero tolerance means zero tolerance. With UEFA, we need to really address that but, to be perfectly frank, we still need to address racism in England. We still have it throughout the pyramid, we see examples every week from the professional game to the grassroots game, we shouldn’t take the moral high ground, we should join a movement to drive racism out of our game and have zero tolerance for it. One of the ends was closed tonight with respect banners up there because of previous problems. UEFA are going to have to think carefully about the levels of abuse they allow players to tolerate and they’re going to have to decide who they make an example of one day but that’s after a thorough investigation of the facts
2019 10 15 Retrieve
[FA chief Greg Clarke proud of how England squad handled Bulgaria incident] I would like to see a stringent review by UEFA, I know they take racism very, very seriously, so if we say zero tolerance, zero tolerance means zero tolerance. Not only do we have a multi-racial team, we have a multi-racial backroom staff, and some of them at half-time were visibly upset at the amount of abuse the squad were taking. So we have to be so proud of our players and the squad around them and the support staff who stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the face of abject racism, showed they were stronger than racism
[Clarke went on to add that he gives credit to coach Gareth Southgate for helping control the situation from the start] I’m happy that Gareth was in control from our side. When the first event happened, he got the players together and the announcement was made. Then the players came across a second time and the referee said ‘do you want to carry on?’ and Gareth said, ‘well, it’s four minutes to half-time so let’s get to half-time and review it’.
He sat down with the players, they wanted to get out there and win the game, to play, and I think - and this is only my opinion - there was less racism and chanting in the second half. But any of it is appalling. But Gareth at the end, I spoke to him, and he felt they had made the right decision to finish the game and the squad wanted to finish the game
2019 10 16 Retrieve
[England’s players were subjected to racist abuse during Monday night’s 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Bulgaria in Sofia] I would like to see a very stringent review by UEFA because I know they take racism very seriously. If we say ‘we’ve got zero tolerance for racism’, one person making monkey chanting noises is the same as 100 - zero tolerance is zero tolerance
2020 04 07 Retrieve
[Greg Clarke says completing campaigns remains the preference in 2019-20] We live in uncertain times and our priority is to support the Government’s public health initiatives. The wellbeing of all of us, and especially our most vulnerable members, must be our focus and the Government’s instructions regarding social distancing are our route to safety.
However, football needs to pay attention to the economic effects of the pandemic as well as rigorously following public health guidance. Football, like many other sectors of the economy has been hit hard by effectively closing down its business. From grassroots through the semi-professional pyramid to the professional game: clubs have closed, games are cancelled, terraces are empty and cash flow has stalled.
Yesterday, Mark Bullingham, the FA Chief Executive, announced the measures the FA Board approved to stabilise our finances given the suspension of the games that drive our revenue streams. The FA is suffering from the severe financial consequences of the pandemic which could be in the range £150 million upwards over the next two years. The pay cuts and furloughing we have implemented buys us time to understand more fully the duration of the lockdown and its economic impact on us.
Returning to the issue of uncertainty, no one knows how long the lock down will last and what social distancing measures will endure even when the daily rate of infection is much reduced. Our Government is rightly cautious as human life is at stake and prudence is our only sensible option.
We are committed to finishing the professional football season as this resolves the issues of promotion and relegation together with title winners on merit. However, we may not be able to finish the season as football is not our priority, human life is, and we will do as the Government directs as the pandemic unfolds.
Further down the football pyramid, our Leagues have requested that the season is curtailed and that decision rests with the FA Council. Football faces economic challenges beyond the wildest imagination of those who run it. The pandemic will be followed by its economic consequences and all business sectors will suffer. We face the danger of losing clubs and leagues as finances collapse. Many communities could lose the clubs at their heart with little chance of resurrection.
In the face of this unprecedented adversity, all the stakeholders within the game from players, fans, clubs, owners and administrators need to step up and share the pain to keep the game alive. Everyone should understand that the Premier League clubs are not immune from the impact of this and whilst they are impacted to different degrees depending on their cost base, the potential overall financial impact is huge.
We must have a plan to ensure that English football is not decimated should this season be lost and next season blighted. We hope we do not need this plan as we are all determined to finish the professional football season, however we would be fools not to develop such a contingency plan. Those that lost their clubs because English football did not rise to the challenge would rightly judge us harshly.
Time is pressing as football burns through its cash reserves with no sign yet of a resumption of the game. Pointing fingers serves no purpose. It is time for the stakeholders to agree common cause to save our game. Contribute. Football is a team game and now is the time for teamwork. The FA looks forward to working with all football stakeholders to safeguard the future of our game.
2020 04 08 Retrieve
[FA chairman Greg Clarke admitts on Tuesday that it may not be possible to complete the 2019-20 campaign] We are committed to finishing the professional football season as this resolves the issues of promotion and relegation together with title winners on merit. However, we may not be able to finish the season as football is not our priority, human life is, and we will do as the government directs as the pandemic unfolds
2020 05 04 Retrieve
[Hard to imagine fans at games soon amid coronavirus crisis] It is no secret that domestically, a huge amount of work is taking place to assess whether a restart to the English season will be possible. Whilst we would all like to see football return in the coming weeks, the health of our communities and the protection of the NHS must remain our priority and we will continue to be led by government advice as we work together with stakeholders from across the game to assess any potential restart. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant financial impact on all sectors of society and sadly football is one of many sports to have been affected as a consequence. I want to assure you that we are committed to supporting the game as a whole through this crisis; especially the lower echelons, where the impact has been felt most acutely. We remain in contact with colleagues and stakeholders from across both the national and professional game and will continue to work together to offer support as we look to navigate our way through this difficult period. So far this has taken a host of different forms from advancing payments due, to giving extensive advisory support, to unlocking money from government and other football stakeholders. We have other ideas in the pipeline such as an initiative with the Football Foundation that we will announce next week. Our executive team has been building out different scenarios that we might potentially face as a result of the pandemic. The reality is that we just don’t know how things are going to pan out, but with social distancing in place for some time to come we do face substantial changes to the whole football ecosystem. For example, it’s hard to foresee crowds of fans - who are the lifeblood of the game - returning to matches any time soon.