Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand

Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand


Rio Ferdinand and Roy Hodgson will join Football Association chairman Greg Dyke’s England Commission.


The confirmation follows criticism of the FA appointing the first eight members of the commission without any representative from an ethnic minority.


The appointment of Manchester United defender Ferdinand will go some way to answering that criticism – he was also an outspoken critic of the handling of the John Terry racism case.


On Saturday, FA chairman Dyke wrote to board member Heather Rabbatts to assure her he intended to add to the commission he set up to improve the fortunes of the England team after she criticised it for being all-white.


Dyke accepted he had “made a mistake” by only announcing some of the names on his commission at the Leaders In Football Conference earlier this month, with the eight on the list confirmed at that time being male and white, leading to Rabbatts’ criticism.


Dyke wrote in a letter seen by Press Association Sport: “The make-up of the commission has been moving for some time but I did explain to you and the board that we planned to appoint two or three additional members and would have done so this week had the issue of Roy Hodgson’s dressing room comments not blown up.


“I do accept we made a mistake announcing only part of the membership of the commission when we did, but to suggest we never considered the ethnic balance of the commission is unfair.”


Dyke continued: “We originally had Clarke Carlisle as a member but the PFA decided they would rather have their new chairman (Ritchie Humphreys) on the commission, and we also identified other individuals from the BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) community who we felt would add strength and value to the commission.


“Unfortunately as they are active in football on a day-to-day basis either they felt the time commitments would be prohibitive. As you know we still want to see people with relevant experience from the BAME community on the commission and giving evidence to it.”


Rabbatts, who was born in Jamaica and is of mixed race, has written to all fellow board members criticising the lack of diversity on the commission.


In response to Sunday’s news, Rabbatts said the FA still had work to do.


“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 in a statement.


“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.


“Greg Dyke was right to say that this project was the FA’s flagship for the future well-being of our national team and it is essential that it is overseen by a body that is truly credible and has the trust and confidence of the whole of football.


“This is still not the case – today’s announcement is a start but there is a lot more work to do.”


As well as Dyke and Humphreys, the commission also currently includes former England manager Glenn Hoddle, Football League chairman Greg Clarke and FA vice-chairman Roger Burden, League Managers’ Association chairman Howard Wilkinson, Crewe director of football Dario Gradi and former England defender Danny Mills.




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