FA board member slams non-diverse commission

Last Updated: Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 18:44

London: A female Football Association board member has criticised chairman Greg Dyke for naming an all-male, all-white commission to investigate the failings of the England national team.

Heather Rabbatts, who is mixed-race, has written a letter to her fellow board members highlighting the lack of diversity on the commission and accusing the FA of letting down black and ethnic minority players.

As well as Dyke, the commission features former England manager Glenn Hoddle, Football League chairman Greg Clarke, FA vice-chairman Roger Burden, League Managers Association chairman Howard Wilkinson, Professional Footballers` Association chairman Ritchie Humphreys, Crewe Alexandra director of football Dario Gradi and former Leeds United defender Danny Mills.

Dyke, however, has said that up to two more names may be added to the list and that the commission will consult a variety of figures from throughout the English game.

Rabbatts said that the "lack of diversity" on the commission meant "that the opportunity to lead an informed debate on the future of English players has been singularly damaged".

She pointed to the key role played by mixed-race Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend in earning England a place at next year`s World Cup and said it was "ironic" that there were no non-white faces on the commission.

Townsend became the focus of controversy earlier this week after it emerged that England manager Roy Hodgson had made a joke about a monkey in his half-time team talk during Tuesday`s 2-0 win over Poland.

The word `monkey` can have racist connotations when used to describe non-white people but the joke was not racist in nature and the FA said that Hodgson, who apologised for any offence caused, did not have a case to answer.

Rabbatts backed the FA`s decision to support Hodgson over the incident but said that the organisation needed to show more consistency on matters of race.

"As the commission looks to address all of the complexities of its brief, it will crucially have to come to a view on nationality, race and identity," she said.

"To have announced a list without anyone who can speak from experience and in an informed manner on those three areas has exposed the FA at a vital moment."

She added: "By proceeding along this current path we are not only failing to reflect our national game but we are also letting down so many black and ethnic minority people -- players, ex-players, coaches and volunteers, who have so much to offer and are so often discouraged and disheartened by the attitudes they encounter.

"The FA should be leading by example, not reinforcing entrenched attitudes."

AFP

First Published: Saturday, October 19, 2013 - 18:44

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