On The Board is the Effective Board Member programme for current and ex-footballers and those working in the sport. It has been designed to improve their understanding of boards and train them to become competent board members.

Developed by the Governance Forum, the Effective Board Member series of programmes have been established to tackle diversity on boards.  Previous graduates have acquired board appointments in a wide variety of organisations in the voluntary sector. The programme for footballers was delivered over six months during which the players have discussed, debated, and learned about governance frameworks, governance codes, board behaviour and reviewing board performance.

The purpose of the programme is to give current and ex-professional footballers the opportunity to extend their careers from the pitch, to the boardroom, where their ambassadorial experience as players is invaluable.  The Professional Footballers Association are the main sponsors of this exciting initiative which is also supported by The Football Association and leading figures within these organisations will be present to celebrate with us.

PFA and On The Board

I first met Karl George in 2013 when he and Michael Johnson approached me with the idea of running a governance programme for footballers and those connected to the sport. It was clear at that point that he was a leader in the field of governance, he was passionate about his field and that he genuinely wanted to help rectify the issue of a lack of diversity in the boardrooms and senior tiers of the sport.

As Chief Executive at the PFA, I have seen this issue continue to challenge the game that I love and felt this should be another part of our equalities campaign for inclusion off the field as well as on.

As the main sponsor of On The Board, the Effective Board Member programme for current and ex-footballers and those working in the sport, the PFA is demonstrating to the world that if you’ve had experience in the game you can bring that experience to the boardroom no matter what background you are from.

Presently, the dugouts and sidelines of football do not represent the diversity on the pitch. Supporting our players to become competent and effective board members, coaches and managers and educating them about governance, ethics and decision-making will ensure the longevity of our reputation as one of the best footballing nations and players’ unions. Governance is not only about what we are doing now – it’s about the future.

Gordon Taylor OBE, Chief Executive Professional Footballers’ Association – main sponsor of On The Board