• England

Ferdinand and Hodgson join commission

ESPN staff
October 20, 2013
Rio Ferdinand will lend his opinion to the FA's England commission © PA Photos

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and England boss Roy Hodgson will be on the commission set up by FA chairman Greg Dyke in a bid to arrest the declining number of English players in the Premier League.

The invitation of ex-England captain Ferdinand will appease those unhappy with the lack of representation of ethnic minorities on the panel, with the FA recently receiving criticism for the commission's make up.

But Dyke insisted Ferdinand's involvement had been on the cards for a while, saying: "Rio's vast experience as a player developed through West Ham's successful youth system, winning Premier League and European titles with Manchester United and representing England at World Cups means he has a huge amount to offer to the debate.

"We have been speaking to Rio and Manchester United for some time about him joining the group -- before we named the other members of the commission.

"However, as he is a current Manchester United player we needed to be sure that Rio had the necessary time to fully participate on the commission and not impact on his day job. It has been agreed he does.

"As a current player with forthright views and opinions on the game, we can look forward to Rio providing significant insight and experience.''

The appointment of England manager Hodgson had been delayed until after the end of the World Cup qualifiers, with Dyke adding: "It is important Roy can offer his views as the current manager of the national team and share the knowledge he has gained when working for many years in a number of countries. I wanted the international fixtures to be completed before announcing this to avoid any distractions for Roy at such an important time.

"It is important we do not lose sight of the commission's main purpose. That is -- finding a way of delivering long-term success for the England men's senior team, particularly by identifying ways to increase the number of players available to the national team playing regularly at the highest level of English football or abroad.''

The other members of the commission to have been announced are Dyke, FA vice-chairman Roger Burden, former England manager Glenn Hoddle, ex-England defender Danny Mills, League Managers' Association chairman Howard Wilkinson, Professional Footballers' Association chairman Ritchie Humphreys, Football League chairman Greg Clarke, and Crewe director of football Dario Gradi.

FA board member Heather Rabbatts, who sparked a row over the make-up of the commission when she wrote a critical letter to fellow board members, gave a cautious welcome to the announcement but said questions remained.

"While I can appreciate the appointment of Roy and Rio, and of course welcome a degree of diversity, there are still questions which remain about the work and role of the FA commission," she said.

"Like many who have spoken out, I want to see the commission be successful in its mission to strengthen the future talent pool for the England team.

"However, the issue of real diversity, and the insight that can bring, is still not fully resolved, nor are the exact terms of reference of the commission and the continued absence of the Premier League from its membership."

Rabbatts said Dyke had been "right to say that this project was the FA's flagship for the future well-being of our national team" and stressed it was "essential that it is overseen by a body that is truly credible and has the trust and confidence of the whole of football".

She said that was "still not the case", adding: "Today's announcement is a start, but there is a lot more work to do."

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