Les Ferdinand is not interested in becoming the new chairman of the Football Association, the PA news agency understands.
The 53-year-old QPR director of football has been mentioned as a possible candidate to succeed Greg Clarke, who resigned on Tuesday after making a series of offensive remarks in an appearance before a parliamentary committee.
However, it is understood he is focused on his role with the Championship club.
📝 We have issued a statement following comments made about #QPR’s decision not to ‘take the knee’.
— QPR FC (@QPR) September 21, 2020
Ferdinand is one of a tiny number of black executives working in the professional game, and enjoyed a distinguished playing career with QPR, Newcastle and Tottenham as well as winning 17 senior England caps.
He has been outspoken on the game’s approach to diversity matters, and said in September the impact of players taking the knee had been “diluted”, adding in a statement on the club’s website that the gesture was now “not dissimilar to a fancy hashtag or a nice pin badge”.
Ferdinand is understood to be a member of Football’s Black Coalition (FBC) which was launched last month, and which will seek to push governing bodies to do more to tackle racism within the game.
Paul Elliott, the chair of the FA’s inclusion advisory board, is reportedly a contender to succeed Clarke, as is the organisation’s head of women’s football Baroness Sue Campbell.
Clarke, who has also stood down as a vice-president of the game’s world governing body FIFA, apologised during the appearance in front of MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee for using the word “coloured”.
He also said South Asians had “different career interests” to people from an Afro-Caribbean background, suggested a person’s sexuality was a “life choice” and recounted an anecdote about being told girls were afraid of having a football kicked at them.
The FA has appointed professional game board chair Peter McCormick has Clarke’s interim replacement.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said he hoped a permanent successor to Clarke would be in place by the end of March next year.