Dame Heather Rabbatts has announced she is to step down as a non-executive director of the Football Association and revealed she “remains frustrated” at the lack of black coaches in the sport.
The 61-year-old became the FA’s first female non-executive director in 2012, sat on the FA board and was part of numerous committees.
Rabbatts, who was awarded a DBE in 2016, also chaired the FA Inclusion Advisory Board and was a long-term advocate of increasing the number of black and ethnic minority numbers involved in football.
Former Celtic and Chelsea striker Paul Elliott will replace Rabbatts in that role, with the outgoing chair saying in a statement that there was work to be done.
“It has been a privilege to serve as the first woman of colour on the board of The FA,” she said.
“We have made good progress but there is still much to be done. I believe with the chairman and Paul Elliott the momentum for change will continue.”
Rabbatts also penned a letter to FA chairman Greg Clarke, suggesting plenty of former black footballers are likely to miss out on opportunities to be involved in the game.
“There are of course significant challenges still to be addressed,” she wrote.
“Like you, I remain frustrated at the lack of progress for BAME coaches and managers in the professional game. This is an issue not just for the clubs and leagues, but also for The FA within its England set-up at St George’s Park.
“The Football League and Premier League are pursuing their initiatives and I would urge you and Paul to use your leadership to both work with them and to set the right example as the national federation for others to follow.
“Currently we are in danger of losing, yet again, another generation of ex-players and other BAME individuals who want to play a role and have relevant skills and experience yet increasingly feel excluded.
“I know that there are really good intentions and a desire to make change but tangible action is required. I believe this matter is dear to you and I truly hope that you will be able to make real the wish felt by so many that, as The FA brand states, This Game is For All.”