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England's Football Association chooses first female leader in 158-year history

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Debbie Hewitt is to be the new Chair of England's Football Association, with effect from January 2022.
Debbie Hewitt is to be the new Chair of England's Football Association, with effect from January 2022.   -   Copyright  The FA
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The English Football Association (FA) nominated Debbie Hewitt on Tuesday to be its first female leader of football’s original national body created 158 years ago.

The experienced businesswoman is set to join the English FA in January, 14 months after Greg Clarke resigned in the fallout from making offensive comments on race, gender and sexuality at a parliamentary hearing.

Hewitt said in an FA statement she would "relish the opportunity to chair an organisation that has the potential to be a very positive force for good throughout the game and across society.”

"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," she added.

The FA said its ruling council will be asked to formally ratify Hewitt’s appointment at a July 22 meeting.

Hewitt, 41, will join an organisation that is weighing a bid to host the 2030 World Cup jointly with the rest of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

She is currently the non-executive Chair of Visa Europe, BGL Group, White Stuff, and The Restaurant Group plc, the latter of which she will resign upon joining the FA in January.