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Carlisle: ‘Rio just a token appointment’
EX-Clarets star Clarke Carlisle has slammed the appointment of Rio Ferdinand to the Football Association’s England commission as ‘an afterthought and tokenism’.
The retired defender, part of the last Burnley side to be promoted to the Premier League, said the make-up of the nine-strong, all-male body was ‘out of kilter’ with society.
Carlisle would have been on the commission had he not been replaced as chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association last month by Chesterfield striker Ritchie Humphreys.
Speaking at a book signing in support of his autobiography at Burnley’s University College of Football Business yesterday, Carlisle said FA chairman Greg Dyke’s handling of the situation had been ‘poor’.
The 33-year-old said: “This is a new commission formed in the past month. How can the issue of diversity and representation not be factored into the initial composition and announcement of it?
“The way that Greg Dyke handled the whole declaration was really poor.
“Even though Rio Ferdinand is now on there as a representative of the black and minority ethnic community, the way that it came about – even though it might not be – smacks of an afterthought and tokenism, which totally undermines what he’s doing.”
Asked about England manager Roy Hodgson’s ‘space monkey’ joke in relation to Spurs winger Andros Townsend, Carlisle said: “It’s a bona fide story but my opinion is that it’s a perfectly viable anecdote which has been misconstrued.
“We have to be careful. We can’t eradicate an animal from existence just because of how delicately someone interprets a situation.
“It’s very serious and there are so many other things about that situation that give us cause for concern like the fact the player (who reported it to the media) couldn’t go through the official channels.”
Carlisle’s book – You Don’t Know Me, But... A Footballer’s Life – details his battle with depression and alcohol addiction.
The former England under-21 international, now an ambassador for the Turf Moor college, tried to take his own life by swallowing 50 pills in a London park in 2001.
He said: “It took me about two months just to start writing about that - I didn’t want to go there. I had never gone there, not even in therapy. It was something I’d completely ignored and shut off.
“Knowing that I was going to have to write about it and go to the site where I attempted to kill myself, I was really scared because I didn’t know what emotions it would bring up or where it would take me mentally.
“But, having got through it, it was awesome coming out the other side. The fact it has encouraged and inspired other people to confront what they’re going through has been utterly fantastic.”