The Football Association “needs something different” in order to meet the challenges it will face in the next few years, according to FA chair candidate Abu Nasir.
Former Muslim Sports Council chair Nasir, who helped develop the Premier League’s Elite Academy Manager programme, is looking to succeed Greg Clarke with applications for the role closing on January 8.
Clarke resigned from the role after making a number of offensive remarks before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, which included using the word “coloured” to describe black players.
Clarke, who apologised and accepted his remarks were “unacceptable”, also stepped down from his roles with UEFA and FIFA. and a seven-member panel has now been tasked with identifying his replacement as FA chair.
After being involved in the game since the age of seven, Nasir believes he is the right candidate to take the FA forward into the new decade.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News, Nasir said: “Football needs something different and someone different who can make a lot of changes.
“For too long it has been very insular – the same people involved who have then also brought their friends in.
“It has meant only a small group of people are actually running the game and there hasn’t been much diversity.
“But diversity isn’t just about colour and religion, it’s about getting the right blend of skills – people with different backgrounds and wide range of skills to make a big and positive impact.
“There needs to be someone different to unite everyone as there are major issues we are going to face in the next few years – financially, around diversity and inclusion as well as around the commercial aspects of the game.
“We need a good structure in place and good governance and I feel I have the necessary skills to oversee some of these key aspects and challenges that we face.”
Nasir’s application provides a timely boost for Britain’s South Asian community, whose relationship with football authorities appears to have become strained.
Several high profile British South Asians have spoken out about their frustrations at the lack of representation in the game with former Newcastle forward Michael Chopra saying the FA and Premier League are not doing enough to engage with the community.
On the issue, former Liverpool Leadership Board member and ex-Kick it Out ambassador Nasir added: “If you look at the South Asian community, there are thousands of players playing week in and week out as well as being involved in the coaching and administration side of the game who are not being acknowledged.
“We have always talked about making changes and there’s all these policies, but for me it’s been tick box exercises.
“The key things are outcomes and we’ve not really had any. We need something that is going to give us long-term results that actually give us a positive impact on the game and that why more diversity is so crucial.”