A Football Association investigation into Heather Rabbatts’ public backing of the former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro has been strongly criticised by equality activists, with Lord Ouseley describing the governing body as “antiquated” and in need of serious reform.
Rabbatts, an FA board member and head of the organisation’s inclusion advisory panel, is the subject of an inquiry after voicing “major concerns” regarding the disciplinary process in the Carneiro case, when José Mourinho was cleared of making discriminatory comments towards the doctor.
Two FA council members, the 82-year-old Ron Barston and 70-year-old Richard Tur, have questioned Rabbatts’ comments and she is alleged to have breached the organisation’s code of conduct. A complaint by two of the FA’s 121-member council is enough to trigger an investigation.
Women in Sport calls FA inquiry into Heather Rabbatts ‘deeply disappointing’
Ouseley, who resigned from the FA council in 2012, called on Greg Dyke, fussballtrikots günstig the chairman, to support Rabbatts and said restructuring was vital.
“The organisation is so structured and landlocked into this business of the council and the shareholders, that they’re the people who run the FA and make the rules,” said Ouseley, the Kick It Out chairman. “It’s a dreadful situation.
“It exposes something that is antiquated and needs to change. The council needs to realise that we’re in the 21st century. You can’t change an organisation unless people are prepared to challenge it. We talk about diversity, inclusion and changing. It’s never going to happen. Who is going to stand up for Heather?
“If you find it’s very difficult to change things, and I had a similar problem to Heather when I was on the FA council, you know that if you stick your head over the parapet, someone is going to want to chop it off. But if you can’t get anything changed or do things which show this organisation is backward without getting support inside, you face a problem.”
Rabbatts declined to comment but members of the FA council and inclusion advisory board told the Guardian that an investigation was unnecessary. Dyke has previously supported Rabbatts’ statements regarding Carneiro.
The campaign groups Women in Football and Women in Sport condemned the investigation as “staggering”. Women in Football said: “Rather than seeking sanctions against Rabbatts, WiF would like to see the FA Council supporting her mission to shore up football’s moral compass. That some members of the FA council are instead focusing their efforts on silencing Rabbatts’ very valid concerns about ethics in the game, and the governing body’s disciplinary process in upholding these, suggests a very worrying priority at the heart of football’s decision-making chamber.
“Additionally, the fact that Rabbatts, as the only fußballtrikots sale female and only ethnic minority member of the FA board, was alone in posing those important questions further underlines the case for why greater diversity is so very necessary across every level of the game.”
Ruth Holdaway, the chief executive of Women in Sport, said: “During a year in which the role of women in the national game has rightly been celebrated, not least for the successes of the England women’s team at this summer’s World Cup, it is staggering that members of the FA council believe it is appropriate to take action against a woman whose very role on the FA inclusion advisory board demonstrates the value of clear and diverse leadership in sport.”
Carneiro has left Chelsea following August’s controversial incident against Swansea City when Mourinho was highly critical of her and the physio Jon Fearn for treating Eden Hazard on the pitch.
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