Debbie Hewitt to become FA’s first female chair – and faces huge new challenges

Debbie Hewitt will become the first female chair of the Football Association.

Hewitt has been nominated to replace Greg Clarke, who was forced to quit in shame in November after making offensive remarks to a Government select committee hearing.

Hewitt's appointment will be ratified by the FA Council next month and she will begin the role in January 2022.

She was awarded an MBE in 2011 for her services to business and the public sector and has been described as the "outstanding candidate" by Kate Tinsley, independent non-executive FA director and chair of the selection panel.

Hewitt said: "As the events in recent months have shown, this is a significant moment in time for English football, with a clear purpose for all stakeholders to secure the long-term health of the game at all levels.

"I've been passionate about football from a very young age and I'm excited by the opportunity to play my part in shaping the future of something that means so much to so many."

Hewitt has been on the board of some of the biggest businesses in the world, but will face a whole raft of new challenges in one of the most demanding and high-profile roles in English sport.

What do you think is the first problem Debbie Hewitt needs to address at the FA? Let us know in the comments section.

Her biggest one will be to improve the image of the FA, as well as work to make the organisation more diverse from top to bottom.

The FA Council will be asked to formally ratify Hewitt's appointment at its next meeting on July 22, with Peter McCormick expected remaining as interim chair.

Clarke was left with no choice but to resign from his £190,000-a-year role as one of the most powerful men in English football last November.

He was facing questions from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee when he used the word 'coloured' while addressing the issue of diversity in the game.

And he was forced to issue an apology.

While the FA issued a grovelling statement insisting Clarke was 'deeply apologetic' for his horrendous blunder – but critics took to social media accusing him of being a dinosaur and demanding he resign.

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