Dyke turns to Rio and Roy
Published 21/10/2013 | 09:36
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke insists he has been in touch with Rio Ferdinand for some time about joining his England Commission.
Dyke has moved to try to end the revolt that has engulfed the FA by announcing Ferdinand and Roy Hodgson will join the commission, which had been criticised for being all-white and all-male.
Dyke said: "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."
FA board member Heather Rabbatts had criticised the make-up of the commission and was backed up by anti-discrimination groups, with sports and equalities minister Helen Grant also expressing concern.
It led to a frantic weekend for the FA before it finally was able to announce the appointment of Manchester United defender Ferdinand and England manager Hodgson.
Dyke is understood to have emailed all board members to consult them about the appointments - something he was criticised for failing to do before announcing the first eight names on his commission, none of whom were from an ethnic minority.
The appointment of Ferdinand - who was an outspoken critic of the handling of the John Terry racism case - can be seen as a victory for Rabbatts, though Dyke insisted that the FA had been in talks with Ferdinand for some time.
Rabbatts, who had suggested Reading striker Jason Roberts as a suitable candidate, has sought further assurances from Dyke that other people may be appointed onto the commission, but has been unable to secure any guarantees.
Rabbatts said: "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.
"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."
Dyke set up the commission in order to look at ways to improve the fortunes of the men's England team and increase the proportion of England-qualified players represented in the Premier League.