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 By PA Sport

Frustrated Heather Rabbatts steps down from FA non-executive role

Heather Rabbatts is the only woman and ethnic minority representative on the FA board.

Dame Heather Rabbatts has said she will step down as a non-executive director of the Football Association and "remains frustrated" at the lack of black coaches in the sport.

Rabbatts, 61, became the FA's first female non-executive director in 2012, sat on the FA board and was on numerous committees.

She also chaired the FA Inclusion Advisory Board and was a long-term advocate of increasing the number of black and ethnic minority numbers in football.

Former Celtic and Chelsea striker Paul Elliott will replace Rabbatts in the advisory board role, with the outgoing chair saying in a statement that work needed 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 Paul Elliott the momentum for change will continue."

Rabbatts also wrote to FA chairman Greg Clarke, suggesting many 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.

"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."

The departure of Rabbatts comes a month after the FA announced new governance proposals and reforms, with the number of FA board members set to decrease from 12 to 10 and three to be female.

Clarke paid tribute to Rabbatts' impact and hailed her as a "real leader," adding: "Heather's knowledge and experience over those years has been invaluable to the FA.

"We fully understand and respect Heather's decision, and everyone at the FA joins me in wishing her all the very best in the future.''

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