England's Mings says BAME candidate heading the FA would be 'huge step'

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Leicester City v Aston Villa - King Power Stadium, Leicester, Britain - October 18, 2020 Aston Villa's Tyrone Mings Pool via REUTERS/Jon Super

(Reuters) - England defender Tyrone Mings has said it would be a big step forward in the fight for equality if the Football Association appoints a candidate from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities as its chair to replace Greg Clarke.

Clarke resigned as chairman of English soccer’s governing body on Tuesday, hours after referring to “coloured footballers” during questions from members of parliament.

“Of course, it would be a huge step,” Aston Villa defender Mings told reporters when asked if he would like to see a black man or woman at the helm. “It would be everything that a lot of people have worked for... people more senior than myself.”

“But ultimately that isn’t what we’re asking for. We’re not necessarily asking for the next chief to be black. What we’re asking for is equal opportunities for both black and white people, or ethnic minorities.”

Mings, who was involved in formulating the FA Football Leadership Diversity Code that was launched last month, said he hoped to see more BAME representation at managerial and coaching levels.

“That’s what we’re trying to create with the code and I think that’s what will give us real lasting change,” he added.

“There’s no point placing someone there, them failing and then saying, ‘Oh, we tried’. It’s about how can we improve the process.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa