09 March 2021

Debbie Hewitt in contention to become Football Association’s first chairwoman

09 March 2021

Visa Europe non-executive chair Debbie Hewitt could become the Football Association’s first chairwoman.

It is understood Hewitt, a former chief executive of the RAC and who holds a number of non-executive chair positions, is being considered for the FA role in succession to Greg Clarke, but the process still has some way to go before it is concluded.

Clarke stood down last November after making a series of offensive remarks during an appearance before MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee.

Greg Clarke stepped down as FA chair last November (PA Media)

Hewitt was awarded an MBE in the 2011 New Year Honours List for services to business and the public sector.

The seven-person panel which was charged with finding Clarke’s successor is led by FA non-executive director Kate Tinsley and also includes Derby coach Liam Rosenior.

The chair of the FA’s inclusion advisory board Paul Elliott was linked with the post, although the governing body’s chief executive Mark Bullingham said in November it could be a “tough ask” to find someone from a playing background with the necessary skill set.

Sport England board member Chris Grant confirmed in January he had applied for the position.

At the time of Clarke’s departure last November, Bullingham said he hoped the FA would have appointed a successor by the end of this month.

Whoever takes on the role will have a key part to play in any bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

The Government has provided funding towards the feasibility study into a UK and Ireland bid for the event. The formal bidding process opens next year, with the hosting rights due to be awarded in 2024.

The new chair will not take on Clarke’s place as FIFA’s British vice-president, however. Irish Football Association president David Martin, Football Association of Wales president Kieran O’Connor and Scottish Football Association vice-president Michael Mulraney are contesting that role.

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