Southgate's successor as England manager could be a woman says FA CEO

Gareth Southgate’s successor as England men’s manager could be a woman, says FA CEO Mark Bullingham, amid fans calling for Sarina Wiegman to turn them into winners too

  • Mark Bullingham revealed a woman could succeed Gareth Southgate at England
  • FA CEO did not dismiss Lionesses’ boss Sarina Wiegman as a potential candidate
  • WATCH: ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ – Episode 1 – Mail Sport’s brand new football show

The FA’s chief executive has said that a woman could replace Gareth Southgate as the next England men’s manager.

Sarina Wiegman stands on the brink of becoming the first individual to lead an English senior football team to a World Cup on foreign soil when her women’s team face Spain on Sunday, ending a 57-year wait for the top prize in our national game.

FA chief Mark Bullingham said that he would seek to appoint ‘the best person for job, when seeking a successor to Southgate, whose contract expires at the end of next year – whether that be a man or woman.

Bullingham said: ‘It’s the best person for the job. If that best person is a woman then why not? You analyse the pool for the job at that particular time. Do I think there’s a really strong, diverse pool of both men and women for any big national job? No. I think the talent pool is small for both, actually. But I don’t like the mindset that it has to be a man.’

Bullingham, who said he will seek a contract extension tying Wiegman and her coaching staff to England beyond her current deal which runs to 2025, did not dismiss the idea that she might be a successor to Southgate. But he said he did not like ‘the language’ implying that the men’s job was a step up.

FA CEO Mark Bullingham has insisted that Gareth Southgate’s successor as England manager could be a woman

Southgate’s current contract as England boss is set to expire in December of 2024


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He said: ‘I think it’s a bit disrespectful of the Lionesses to project it as a step up. We think Sarina is doing a great job and hope she continues to do it for a long time. Sarina could do anything she wants in football.’

Though the notion of Wiegman managing the men is a fascinating one, considering the way she has injected huge confidence into her team, turning them into European and potentially now world champions, the FA would realistically have to know that public opinion was ready for the first woman in men’s international football.

The far bigger threat to Wiegman not going on to manage England beyond 2025 is a swoop for her by the USA, after coach Vlatko Andonovski quit on Thursday.

Bullingham insisted that the FA would flatly reject any attempt by the USA to poach 53-year-old Wiegman, who is on a salary of around £400,000 a year.

Asked if he would reject an approach out if hand, he said: ‘Yes, 100 per cent.’ No price would be enough to lose her, he insisted. ‘It’s not about the money,’ he said. We are very, very happy with her and we feel she is happy. I think that is the answer.’

The FA are already planning to erect a statue to Wiegman and members of her team – an idea raised by Mailsport’s Chris Sutton in our new ‘It’s all Kicking Off’ podcast on Monday. An idea has been in the pipeline for some time, to erect a statue to Wiegman’s European championship winning team at Wembley, with designs under consideration which would include a number of the players or all of them.

Bullingham said: ‘It’s something we are looking at post Euros. We’ve made progress on that and it would be right to have something to commemorate that success outside Wembley. It’s more the whole team [than Sarina]. There are many stages you’ve got to get through – we’ve managed to get through the first stage. You have to go through various permissions – we’ve gone through that. The next stage is working on the design.’

The FA CEO added that they would not entertain any approaches from the USA for Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman

Wiegman’s Lionesses reached their first World Cup final with victory over Australia on Wednesday

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But as the countdown continued to the final – in which England will play in their light blue away kit with white socks – the FA and the players were still at odds last night over the question of the performance-related bonuses Wiegman’s stars feel should have been agreed before the World Cup.

The players had paused negotiations with the FA and said they were ‘disappointed’ a resolution had not been found. Bullingham insisted there had not been enough time before the tournament because FIFA had agreed prize money so late. He declared that he was confident a resolution would be found after the tournament.

But sources close to the players insisted that the FA had not budged from its position that there should be no bonus on top of prize money – and timing had not come into it.

The source said: ‘The senior FA people didn’t get involved until the very last minute, which didn’t help, and gave the players the sense that they weren’t being taken very seriously.’

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