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Ninth cohort graduates from PFA’s On The Board

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The PFA are proud to announce the ninth cohort has graduated from the annual PFA-funded governance training initiative, On The Board. 

Launched in 2013, the On The Board programme was created in conjunction with The Governance Forum (TGF) to address the lack of diversity in football’s boardrooms. Together with the PFA, TGF develops current and former professional footballers of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic heritage into effective board members through structured, innovative training. PFA members from other backgrounds playing in the women’s game are also enthusiastically encouraged to apply for the programme. 

Participants spend six months developing their understanding of boards and governance frameworks. They also learn about governance codes, board behaviour and reviewing board performance. In the decade since the pilot programme was delivered, over 130 delegates have completed On The Board training, leading to more than 70 board appointments. Several graduates have also undertaken governance roles at the PFA, including 50% of the current PFA Players’ Board.

2022 On The Board graduates include former Millwall winger, Jimmy Carter, the first British Asian footballer to play in the Premier League. Leyton Orient’s Omar Beckles, and Manchester United’s Tom Heaton were also part of the cohort. They now join their fellow Players’ Board members Wes Morgan, Danielle Carter and Players’ Board chair, John Mousinho, as graduates of the programme. 

Graduates were honoured at an online ceremony that included tributes to West Brom legend, Cyrille Regis, and England u21 support coach, Michael Johnson. Michael was a graduate of the first programme, while Cyrille was influential in the development of the first cohort. Attendees also heard from past graduates Wes Morgan, Aoife Mannion, Anton Ferdinand and Danny Thomas.

PFA CEO, Maheta Molango, said, “On The Board is a fantastic initiative and highlights the PFA’s commitment to improving representation at all levels of the game. Nearly half of our current Players’ Board are graduates of the programme, underlining how much importance we place on development and governance within our organisation. I look forward to seeing more of our members, and On The Board graduates, taking up board positions soon.”

TGF Director, Karl George, added, “We’ve been running this programme for almost a decade now, and each year we see a new cohort of great ambassadors of the game willing to put themselves through an enjoyable but sometimes gruelling process. I’m so pleased that another 15 graduates will now be looking for leadership roles in the boardroom, both within football and other sectors, fulfilling the vision that we had from that first programme.”

Improving representation throughout football remains a key objective of the players’ union. The PFA continue to fund and support several initiatives such as the Player To Coach Scheme, The FA’s Football Leadership Diversity Code, The Coach Index and the PFA Asian Inclusion Mentoring Scheme. 

After two years of teaching a Covid-compliant programme online, the PFA and TGF are now discussing a return to in-person delivery. If approved, the next On The Board programme will commence later this year. Any PFA members interested in governance or the On The Board programme should contact the PFA Education team  to find out more. 

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