Sport England’s Chris Grant and former Liverpool FC Leadership Board member Abu Nasir will apply for the position of FA chair to succeed Greg Clarke who resigned last month.

The FA has appointed a seven-member panel tasked with identifying a replacement for Clarke, who left his role after referring to black footballers as “coloured” before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

He also said: “If you go to the IT department at the FA, there’s a lot more South Asians than there are Afro-Caribbeans. They have different career interests.” Clarke, who apologised and accepted his remarks were “unacceptable”, also stepped down from his roles with UEFA and FIFA.

Sport England board member Chris Grant
Image: Sport England board member Chris Grant

Now 58-year-old Grant, and ex-Muslim Sports Council chair Nasir – who helped develop the Premier League’s Elite Academy Manager programme – have entered the race to succeed Clarke, with applications for the role closing on January 8.

Grant told The Times: “I’m going public now because, whatever happens with this process, football and sport are too important not to try to make our best contribution.

“When football is at its best, it’s a really positive force for good. Too often it’s fragmented and working against itself. My vision is of a unified game.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 8: Administration Award winner Abu Nasir poses during the Second Annual Asian Football Awards at Wembley Stadium on October 8, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for Asian Football Awards) *** Local Caption *** Abu Nasir
Image: Abu Nasir was recognised at the 2013 Asian Football Awards at Wembley Stadium

“My vision is of football thriving but also contributing to thriving communities in these difficult times. I’m an optimist. I believe we can find the right balance.”

Grant, 58, is one of the most senior black administrators in British sport, and said the time had come for a “generational shift” in the leadership of sport.

Former Liverpool and Luton Town youth player Nasir is a Bedfordshire County FA member and ex Kick It Out ambassador. The British-Bangladeshi is the founder chairman of grassroots team Luton Sporting Club.

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