Ferdinand and Hodgson join FA commission
LONDON (AP) — England coach Roy Hodgson and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand have agreed to join the Football Association’s commission to improve the state of English football.
The appointments came a day after the FA was accused by one of its board members of “letting down so many black and ethnic minority people” after setting up an all-white commission.
FA chairman Greg Dyke said the body had been in touch with Ferdinand for some time but needed to make sure he had enough time to participate in the debate.
On Saturday, board member Heather Rabbatts, who was born in Jamaica and is of mixed race, criticized the lack of diversity on the commission.
Ferdinand, who has retired from international football but still plays for Manchester United, is the first non-white member of the panel.
“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,” Dyke said. “As a current player with forthright views and opinions on the game, we can look forward to Rio providing significant insight and experience.”
Hodgson found himself at the heart of a media storm this week after making a joke about a monkey at halftime during England’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Poland. Hodgson, who has apologized for his remarks, said he made the joke to encourage his players to pass the ball more to Andros Townsend, who is black.
Dyke is also counting on Hodgson’s experience to help the FA build long-term success for the national team.
“It is important Roy can offer his views as the current manager of the national team and share the knowledge he has gained when working for many years in a number of countries,” Dyke said. “I wanted the international fixtures to be completed before announcing this to avoid any distractions for Roy at such an important time.”