FA in chaos as Greg Dyke admits that all-white Commission was a mistake

Chairman under pressure to rip up list of names after public rebuke leads to a war of words

Greg Dyke's attempts to create a commission to improve the England national football team descended into acrimony and farce last night as he was forced to admit he had been wrong to omit an ethnic minority representative from its initial members.

The Football Association chairman yesterday came under attack from Heather Rabbatts, his fellow FA board member, and the new sport and equalities minister, Helen Grant, over the all-white, all-male commission members announced so far. His indignant response to Rabbatts, in a letter which he made public, revealed the governing body to be in a state of open strife on the issue as it lurches from one ethnicity crisis to another.

Dyke described Rabbatts' criticism of him as "unfair" and expressed his clear displeasure with the fact she had chosen to go public. He also blamed this week's Roy Hodgson "monkey" controversy for the fact that ethnic representatives have not been named for the commission, to date.

Rather than apologise for any impression that the ethnicity had been overlooked, Dyke told Rabbatts – who was born in Jamaica and is of mixed race: "I'm sorry if this has been a difficult issue for you."

But the Independent on Sunday understands that one of the most articulate voices for black players – the Reading striker Jason Roberts – has not even been sounded out by the Football Association about joining the Commission. Roberts and other black representatives in the game are understood to feel that any ethnic member named now would feel like a tokenistic presence on the body.

Dyke's decision to name eight initial members of the commission without having a woman or ethnic representation in place does seem to have been extremely naive and reflects the rushed way Dyke has gone about forming the body. The governing body is expected to include a black and minority ethnic (BME) name when it announces two more members on Wednesday, but the whole project is already deeply undermined.

The chairman is coming under pressure to rip up the initial list and reconstitute the commission, after widespread criticism for the lack of ambition displayed in the make-up of a group which includes former defender Danny Mills, FA vice chairman Roger Burden and Football League chairman Greg Clarke. Grant said yesterday she will seek an explanation this week from Dyke and considers his list unacceptable.

In a letter to all FA board members which began yesterday's war of words, Rabbatts said she had tried to raise her concerns about ethnic representation privately and that there had been a "refusal to understand" her position.

But Dyke flatly rejected that, telling her: "I was surprised by your comments as they seem to imply that somehow we have got to where we are because of a lack of understanding in the area of diversity.Only two weeks ago you and I discussed ways of making organisations take their responsibilities in this area [of ethnicity] more seriously. 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."

Dyke blamed the absence of Clarke Carlisle from the commission on his departure from the position of Professional Footballers' Association chairman and told Rabbatts he had already met Herman Ouseley, chairman of the Kick it Out organisation, and Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equalities Commission.

But Ouseley said he had raised the issue with Dyke and questioned why he had not used Rabbatts' contacts and experience to bring on a suitable representative.

News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss