FA call off hunt for person who leaked details of Roy Hodgson's space-monkey joke

Line drawn under Jokegate but Alan Shearer concerned by breach of trust

The hunt for who leaked details of Roy Hodgson's space-monkey joke has been called off because the Football Association believe a relative of a player rather than one of the team was responsible. With every player present having denied being upset by the joke, the FA and Hodgson wish to put the issue behind them. Talk about the joke was widespread in the players' lounge after the game at Wembley. Although the reporter whose byline was on the story claims to have spoken to a player directly, the FA are satisfied there is an alternative explanation for how the story was made public.

Former England international Alan Shearer backed that assessment but said he believed there were still concerns over dressing-room security. He said: "That's the most worrying thing about it, that whether it's come directly from a player or – what I would think – it's come indirectly. A player has mentioned it to someone else but there's been a breakdown in a player's particular circle [of] who he can trust. That's more worrying."

Andros Townsend, the player at the centre of the storm, has exonerated Hodgson from any suggestion there was a racist aspect to the joke and underlined his own belief that the subject was not a news story. Key players, notably Wayne Rooney, have also come out in support of the manager.

Townsend, who signed a new four-year deal with Spurs on Friday, will start at Villa Park today with Hodgson echoing the sentiment of Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas that the winger be allowed to develop at his own pace.

Hodgson, however, hit back at the criticism by Villas-Boas of Townsend's England selection. "When I picked him," said Hodgson, "I think his manager said I was wrong to pick him, and I should have called him, because he [Townsend] wasn't ready to play international football.

"Suddenly he's gone from that to a world hero in the same class as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. I think the lad needs a break and I think people need to accept that he is still a young man learning his trade. I want to protect him as well as I can and I am sure his club manager will want to do that too."

Villas-Boas made his comments when Hodgson called up Townsend in September ahead of the World Cup double-header against Moldova and Ukraine. At the time Townsend had just made his first Premier League start for Spurs.

The letters between Rabbatts and Dyke

An edited version of the exchange of letters:

Dear Colleagues,

This has been a week of spectacular highs with England qualifying for Brazil and desperate lows with the debacle of the "race storm" around the manager. It has also been an important time for the FA's image, reputation and credibility on the issue of race and the development of the "flagship" FA Commission. I believe that the lack of proper consultation on the make up of the Commission, the composition of the Commission itself and the lack of diversity, have all damaged the opportunity to lead an informed debate on the future of English players.

While England's victories 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.

The Commission will have to come to a view on nationality, race and identity. To have a list without anyone who can speak from experience on those three areas has exposed the FA at a vital moment. What is required is not tokenism but individuals who have direct and relevant experience. We are letting down so many Black and Ethnic Minority people who are so often discouraged by the attitudes they encounter. The FA should be leading by example not reinforcing entrenched attitudes. The key is not to consult when it suits but to involve the right people from the outset.

I have come under huge personal pressure to "speak out". I have found it galling to listen to so-called Commissioners air their often ill-informed views. I have come to the conclusion that the FA's current position is not sustainable and my own personal integrity is being compromised. As a mixed race woman and FA Director, I have tried to emphasise in private the importance of this moment. The refusal to understand this, and the disappointing composition of the Commission means that public silence is no longer an option.

Yours Sincerely, Heather Rabbatts CBE

Dear Heather,

I recognise your strength of feeling but am sorry that you felt you had to make your concerns public. As the instigator and organiser of the Commission, I was surprised by your comments as they seem to imply that we have a lack of understanding in the area of diversity. As you know I have long been a champion of inclusion and I think my credentials are pretty strong. I spent part of my early life in community relations; you were on the Board of the BBC when I, as Director General, described the organisation as "hideously white" [and] ensured more ethnic minorities were employed at the BBC.

Only two weeks ago, you and I discussed ways of making organisations take their responsibilities in this area more seriously – we agreed we want action not ineffectual policy papers on race – and in my brief time at The FA I have met both Herman Ouseley, the Chairman of Kick it Out, and Trevor Phillips, the former Chair of the Equalities Commission.

The make-up of the Commission has been moving for some time but I did explain to you that we planned to appoint additional members and would have done so this week had the Roy Hodgson [issue] not blown up. I do accept we made a mistake announcing only part of the membership of the Commission, but to suggest we never considered the ethnic balance is unfair. We originally had Clarke Carlisle as a member but the PFA decided they would rather have their new Chairman, and we also identified individuals from the BAME [Black, Asian and minority ethnic] community. Unfortunately, they felt the time commitments would be prohibitive. As you know, we still want people from the BAME community.

Heather, we've been friends for a long time and I'm sorry if this has been a difficult issue for you but, as you know, the aim of the Commission is to try and strengthen the England team, and to ensure that talented English kids, whatever their ethnicity or creed, are able to play at the highest level in English football, something which currently we are not sure is happening.

Yours Sincerely, Greg Dyke

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project