LONDON: FA director Heather Rabbatts has flayed chairman Greg Dyke over the commission created to put England’s national team back among serious World Cup-winning contenders.
Dyke took office in the summer and has drip-fed the media over by the creation of, and appointments to, his commission.
Rabbatts published a furious letter she sent to other board members excoriating both the genesis and composition of the all-white, all-male commission.
The only woman on the FA board is also its only director from an ethnic minority background
Rabbatts said she felt forced to speak out because her personal integrity had been compromised by her public silence though she had already made his views known at a board meeting earlier this week.
She said: “The FA should be leading by example not reinforcing entrenched attitudes . . . As you all know from my comments at the board this week, I believe that the lack of proper consultation on the makeup 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.”
Rabbatts was formerly chief executive of Lambeth council, chair of Millwall, a BBC governor and a Channel 4 executive.
She added: “I make the comments about diversity not because they are additional to this matter but because they lie at its heart . . . As a mixed-race woman, an FA director required to bring an additional, independent view to the role and as someone who cares passionately about the future credibility of the FA on race, I have tried to emphasise in private the importance of this moment.
“The refusal to understand this, the lack of proper decision-making and accountability, and the disappointing composition of the commission means that public silence is no longer an option.”
Her fellow directors had let down the black and ethnic minority community in football in a week that Andros Townsend’s emergence on the international scene had helped the England team qualify for the World Cup finals.
Rabbatts continued: “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.
“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.
“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.
“On the issue of the commission, I have come to the conclusion that the FA’s current position is not sustainable and my own personal integrity and values are being compromised.”
The eight names Dyke has announced to join him on the commission include former England right-back Danny Mills, FA vice-chairman Roger Burden, former England manager Glenn Hoddle, League Managers Association chairman Howard Wilkinson, the new Professional Footballers’ Association chairman Ritchie Humphreys, Football League chairman Greg Clarke and Crewe Alexandra’s director of football Dario Gradi.