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Rabbatts slams FA commission for "lack of diversity"

ESPN staff
October 19, 2013
Heather Rabbatts is not happy with the line-up of the commission © Getty Images

FA board member Heather Rabbatts written a letter to her colleagues launching a stinging attack on chairman Greg Dyke's England Commission for a "lack of diversity".

Rabbatts criticised the decision from Dyke to name an all-white, all-male commission in order to improve the England team and believes that the FA is letting down black players.

The FA has endured a difficult week in fallout of a race row which marred England's qualification to the World Cup 2014, after Roy Hodgson apologised for using language which could be deemed as offensive during his half time team talk against Poland.

The letter stated: "I believe that the lack of proper consultation on the make up of the commission, the fact that no approval was sought from the board, releasing the names of the 'chosen'' individuals at Leaders in Football, the composition of the Commission itself and the lack of diversity, have all meant that the opportunity to lead an informed debate on the future of English players has been singularly damaged.

"I make the comments about diversity not because they are additional to this matter but because they lie at its heart.

"Indeed, while England's victories on Friday and Tuesday are due to many factors no one would argue that a young black player made a huge difference and a young man whose father has played a significant role in fighting racism in football.

"It is therefore particularly ironic that a commission to look at the national team has been formed with absolutely no representation from the black and ethnic minority communities, many of whom play such an important role at every level of our game.

"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.

"What is required is not tokenism but the involvement of individuals who have direct and relevant experience of what it means to represent their country while coming from diverse cultural backgrounds.

"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."

The eight names announced for the commission are Dyke, vice-chairman Roger Burden, Glenn Hoddle, Danny Mills, Howard Wilkinson, PFA chairman Ritchie Humphreys, Greg Clarke and Dario Gradi.

However, the FA has stated other people will be considered for the commission, which aims to increase the number of English players appearing for the country's elite clubs. Dyke maintained there will be no more than ten members of the commission.

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