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FA Leadership Diversity Code Statement

FA Football Leadership Diversity Code

The PFA welcomes The FA’s new Football Leadership Diversity Code. In becoming founding signatories, over 40 professional clubs and the national team have shown their commitment to addressing a lack of diversity in leadership positions across football.

For football to be fully inclusive, the whole game must work collectively and transparently. This is the only way to ensure demonstrative and evidential change. We hope that all clubs will become signatories in the near future, with the necessary support provided to achieve the targets required for the code to be successful.

Bobby Barnes, PFA Deputy Chief Executive, said, “I was pleased to work with the steering group to help develop The FA’s Football Leadership Diversity Code. Football’s leadership and support structures must be reflective of our membership. To see the clubs committing to embed greater diversity across leadership, support and coaching roles is a step forward.”

The FA’s intention that the National League System and grassroots clubs should follow an adapted version of the code starting next year is also important. Real change will require the whole football ecosystem to work together.  

Our vision is that this code leads to more BAME appointments across all areas of governance within football. Clubs must be monitored to ensure they adhere to the code and full transparency of their recruitment processes will be crucial to ensure proper accountability and evaluation. 

All football stakeholders have a responsibility to ensure the game is fully representative on and off the pitch. We hope this code will bring about the change we need in the way football is currently governed. 

The PFA has long campaigned for better representation for our members off the pitch, which has included: 

  • Lobbying for the Rooney Rule since 2003
  • Clear Criteria for Pro Licence 
  • Football Management Course with LMA at Warwick University
  • Introduction of a Ready List highlighting black coaches ready for work
  • Introduction of an Online Coaching Directory highlighting the availability of black coaches
  • Endorsing the introduction of the Voluntary Recruitment Code pilot across the EFL
  • Calling for transparency of the Recruitment Code when it was made mandatory
  • Jointly funding the BAME Coaching Placement Program alongside The FA 
  • Launching the BAME Player To Coach Scheme with the Premier League and EFL

We will continue preparing current and former players to take up senior leadership positions through our established coaching and education services via the PFA Charity. This includes encouraging BAME candidates to undertake effective board member training, through our long-running On The Board programme.

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