FA investigation into Heather Rabbatts over Eva Carneiro labelled “staggering”

Published: Saturday 24th October 2015 by The News Editor

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The campaign group Women in Football has said it is staggered that the Football Association is investigating a complaint against its independent board member Heather Rabbatts over her public backing of former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro.

Rabbatts has been heavily critical of the FA’s handling of Carneiro’s case, describing it as “seriously disappointing”, and is now facing a complaint from two FA councillors for alleged breach of the FA’s code of conduct.

It is understood an investigation was formally started earlier on Friday.

Women in Football said in a statement: “Women in Football (WiF) are staggered to learn that Heather Rabbatts will face an FA investigation into her comments regarding Dr Eva Carneiro and physio Jon Fearn, following a request by FA council members.

“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 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.”

Lord Herman Ouseley, the chairman of equality group Kick It Out, who himself resigned from the FA Council three years ago, said the FA’s leadership should be supporting Rabbatts’ stance.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch said Rabbatts had done “great work” as chairman of the FA’s inclusion advisory board.

Ouseley told Press Association Sport: “To hear that Heather Rabbatts is now being investigated for her support of Eva Carneiro is bizarre, and it shows what an antiquated body the FA Council is.

“As the only female independent board member, she is in an exposed position but she is there to provide a different voice and as a figurehead for people in the game who feel the whole system is against them.

“This is a moment when the chairman of the FA, Greg Dyke, should stand up and show support for Heather Rabbatts.”

It is understood two FA members of the 121-strong FA council – 82-year-old life vice-president Ron Barston and 70-year-old law lecturer Richard Tur, the chairman of the Oxford University FA – have called for an investigation into Rabbatts.

Tur said he was unable to comment, as did the FA.

Published: Saturday 24th October 2015 by The News Editor

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