FA launches new code to address the ‘longstanding challenge’ of ethnic and gender diversity

Representational image (iStock)
Representational image (iStock)

The Football Association has launched the Football Leadership Diversity Code to increase ethnic and gender diversity at the top levels of English soccer.

The new drive launched on Tuesday(27) also sets out targets to reduce the role that personal networks have long played in top-level appointments.

According to FA, more than 40 clubs across the Premier League, Football League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship have signed up to the code, including 19 of the Premier League’s 20 clubs except Southampton.

Southampton said that it supported the idea but wanted to see how the new code and the Premier League Equality Standard would work together in practice before signing up.

One of the code’s main aims is for clubs to move away from recruitment practices focused on personal networks – which the FA described as a “longstanding challenge” that had limited diversity in leadership across the game.

Avoiding outright quotas, the code instead sets out several hiring “targets”, chief among them that 15 per cent of new hires for senior leadership and team operation roles be black, Asian or mixed-heritage, while 30 per cent of new hires for these roles should be female.

But clubs will also be allowed to set their own targets based on local demographics, according to the code.

For normal coaching jobs, the target for men’s clubs is for 25 per cent of new hires to be black, Asian or mixed-heritage, while for senior coaching roles it is 10 per cent. Fifty per cent of new coaching hires at women’s clubs will be female while 15 per cent will be black, Asian or of mixed-heritage, the code says.

Shortlists for interviews must have at least one male and one female black, Asian or mixed-heritage candidate as long as applicants meeting the job specifications apply, the code stipulates.