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Amaechi comments add to pressure on FA bosses

There was further criticism for the embattled senior figures at the head of the Football Association on Friday in the wake of their appearance before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

There have been calls for chairman Greg Clarke and chief executive Martin Glenn to resign following the hearing into the FA’s handling of Eni Aluko’s complaints against former England Women manager Mark Sampson.

Clarke has locked horns with Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor, while DCMS chairman Damian Collins and shadow sports minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan suggested resignations should be the order of the day.

Greg Clarke’s approach to diversity has been criticised (Adam Davy/Empics)

And, on Friday, Collins said Clarke and Glenn are the only ones who believe they are doing a good job after former NBA star John Amaechi made claims about a meeting he had with the FA chairman earlier this year.

Amaechi said Clarke told him he would not risk pushing through reforms on diversity because it would get him “fired”, adding Clarke also claimed the Government would never force the FA to act on homophobia because “we have all the power and FIFA would step in and call it government interference”.

These alleged comments came during a “tense but civil” meeting at Amaechi’s office in London in March and will only heighten the pressure Clarke is already under for his mishandling of the Sampson scandal.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, Amaechi said he tried to explain to Clarke that “pinning your hopes on a player coming out and making everything OK” was not how you would make a “meaningful change”.

“He was very descriptive and dismissive about these octogenarian blazers and, reading between the lines, he was saying they are a bunch of racist and sexist old men who block progressive changes,” Amaechi said.

“I told him he should do something that would have an impact and he said, ‘That’s what cost the last guy his job’.”

This is a reference to his predecessor Greg Dyke, who repeatedly clashed with the council over reforms centred on diversity.

The FA has confirmed that Clarke met with Amaechi, with a spokesperson saying: “Homophobia in football is an important subject and one the chairman feels passionately about.”

Friday’s events unfolded as England Women goalkeeping coach Lee Kendall was absent from the friendly against France.

Aluko told the DCSM that Kendall repeatedly spoke to her in a Caribbean accent when at England training camps.

Following Aluko’s accusation, the Football Association announced it would be “unacceptable” for 36-year-old Kendall to have behaved in such a way.

A Football Association spokeswoman confirmed to Press Association Sport that Kendall was not among England’s staff for the game, which France won 1-0.

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