By Matt Hughes For The Daily Mail
Published: 22:32 GMT, 2 November 2020 | Updated: 22:39 GMT, 2 November 2020
Former FA Board member Dame Heather Rabbatts has been rejected for the PFA role of picking Gordon Taylor’s successor as chief executive amid hotly contested claims she was considered ‘too urban’.
Sportsmail has learned that the former Millwall director, who spent five years as the only woman and only person of colour on the FA Board before standing down three years ago, applied to become one of the four new independent non-executive directors of the PFA who will appoint Taylor’s replacement after 38 years, but did not make a 40-strong shortlist of candidates.
Rabbatts’ application is understood to have been rejected by headhunting company Odgers Berndtson, who are handling the initial process before handing over to the PFA’s three-person panel comprising former England defender Gary Neville, Oxford defender John Mousinho and lawyer Edward Canty, who will begin to conduct interviews next week with a view to making the appointments before the end of November. In an interview with The Times yesterday, Rabbatts claimed she was recently rejected for a Board position and was subsequently told she was ‘too urban, which is code for we don’t really want a mixed-race woman here’.
Dame Heather Rabbats will not be part of the panel which select's Gordon Taylor's successor
Gordon Taylor has been the Professional Footballers' Association chief executive for 38 years
Rabbatts’ claims are strongly contested by Odgers and members of the PFA selection panel, who have told Sportsmail that the 64-year-old’s application was not successful because of the potential for conflicts of interest arising from her previous role on the FA Board. The PFA have attracted a wide range of high-calibre candidates