Kick It Out welcomes FA’s new diversity code and will monitor impact on game

Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari has welcomed the Football Association's new diversity code.
Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari has welcomed the Football Association's new diversity code. (PA Wire)
15:38pm, Tue 27 Oct 2020
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Campaign group Kick It Out has welcomed the Football Association’s new diversity code and said it will be closely monitoring its affect on the football industry.

The FA’s Football Leadership Diversity Code aims to ensure more candidates from ethnic minorities can land top jobs in football.

The code, which is voluntary, asks clubs to hit targets in coaching positions as well as senior management roles and so far 42 clubs from across the Premier League, English Football League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship have signed up.

Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari said: “We welcome the Football Leadership Diversity Code, published today by The FA It shows what football can achieve when we work as a team.

“I applaud all the clubs and individuals who participated in this massive joint effort over the last three months and those who have immediately signed up to the Code.

“The Code is a clear signal of intent and sets the future direction for building a more inclusive game.

“It has the potential to transform the way that people get in, stay in and get on in the football industry, so that it is more representative of the people who play and watch the game.

“Together we can rewrite the book on how people succeed in coaching and leadership in the game.”

Bhandari said the new code was only the beginning of football’s bid to become more inclusive.

“There is more work to be done,” he said. “At Kick It Out, we will be asking fans and sponsors to encourage their clubs to sign up to the Code.

“We will be seeking to provide the reporting transparency that tracks how football is progressing against these targets in the coming years.

“We will also work with the industry to ensure that the diverse pipeline of talent is better connected to opportunities.

“We know that talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. We need to correct that imbalance.”

The Premier League offered its full backing to the new code and said it was already adhering to its guidelines.

A Premier League statement read: “The Premier League supports the introduction of the Football Leadership Diversity Code and is embedding the principles within its ongoing work, including the Premier League Equality Standard programme for clubs.

“The voluntary code complements the significant work the League and its clubs have already undertaken, demonstrating our collective and continued commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion across the game.

“We firmly believe there should be no barrier to entry or opportunity in any area of football.

“Working alongside our colleagues at the FA, EFL, PGMOL, PFA, LMA and Kick It Out we will continue to improve policy and practices to tackle under-representation with the aim of creating sustained and long-term change.”

Working alongside our colleagues at the FA, EFL, PGMOL, PFA, LMA and Kick It Out we will continue to improve policy and practices to tackle under-representation with the aim of creating sustained and long-term change.

“Working alongside our colleagues at the FA, EFL, PGMOL, PFA, LMA and Kick It Out we will continue to improve policy and practices to tackle under-representation with the aim of creating sustained and long-term change.”

Anti-racism charity Show Football the Red Card also welcomed the FA’s announcement, applauding “a collaborative effort over a number of months involving big players across the game”.

Show Racism the Red card deputy chief executive officer Paul Kearns told the PA news agency: “High-level executives at Premier League clubs, players themselves, coaches and also the clubs themselves have been involved.

“The players have taken the knee, which has been a real high-profile, public stance, but it’s time for action and time to take those next steps and we hope and think the diversity code is that next step on the ladder.”

Kearns said he was “sincerely hopeful” the new code would make a big impact on the game’s lack of diversity.

“The real key asset of this is the range of people that have been involved,” he said. “I’m enthused to see words like accountability, transparency and driving forward being used.

“It suggests this is a pre-emptive move to push things forward. Progress reports every year and targets have been set.

“So the FA have set out their stall, putting markers in place and Show Racism the Red Card will act as a critical friend and will assess them on those markers.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson hailed the FA’s new code as a “fantastic new initiative”.

Henderson tweeted: “Proud to be involved in this fantastic new initiative. We can and must do more. Time for change.”

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