The English Football Association (FA) broke new ground by appointing Debbie Hewitt as the first woman president.
- Hewitt comes from a strong corporate background and is expected to begin his role in January of next year.
- She will replace Interim President Peter McCormick
- English football has seen unrest off the pitch for much of this year
The FA, which was formed in 1863 and strives to become more inclusive, launched its Pursuit of Progress initiative in 2018 to increase the diversity of those who play, referee, coach, direct and govern English football.
Greg Clarke resigned as president last November after an argument over his reference to “footballers of color” when asking MPs questions.
Hewitt’s appointment comes as the FA grapple with the England national team booed by fans over the weekend for kneeling down to highlight racial injustice.
“As the events of the past few months have shown, this is an important moment for English football, with a clear goal for all stakeholders to ensure the long-term health of the game at all levels.” Hewitt said in a statement.
English football has also been in turmoil in recent months after an unsuccessful attempt by 12 European clubs, including six English, to set up a breakaway European Super League.
Hewitt, currently chairman of UK-based The Restaurant Group, was the unanimous choice of the FA’s seven-member selection panel.
She will succeed Interim President Peter McCormick.
“[Hewitt’s] His experience in many fields of activity and his general approach will allow him to work collaboratively throughout the game, while providing his own vision, experience and judgment on the most important issues, ”said McCormick.
Hewitt is also the non-executive chairman of Visa Europe. She will step down from her post with The Restaurant Group when she joins the FA in January 2022.