FA issues new plan to make ‘football for all’
Arsenal vs Birmingham City 2010. Flickr/Ronnie Macdonald.
30.08.2018By Luca Arfini
This August, the English Football Association (FA) launched ‘In Pursuit of Progress’, a three year plan whose main goal is to make the association’s working environment as inclusive and diverse as possible.
“Football is for everyone and we’re determined to break down barriers which get in the way of progress,” it says in the plan documents.
Even though the FA’s employee team is currently composed of 32% female staff, the percentage of their workforce from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds only amounts to 13%. Furthermore, 75% of their job applicants are male.
Therefore, the FA has proposed new targets, to be completed by 2021, with the primary objective to increase the job opportunities in the organisation in terms of gender and ethnicity and eventually supporting all under-represented groups.
"A diverse workforce is an effective workforce and we want The FA to reflect modern society in this country. It will not happen overnight, but this is a significant step in the right direction to make football more equal, more diverse and more inclusive For All," said FA Chairman Greg Clarke, in a press release in relation to the launch of the new plan.
Following the plan’s targets, the female workforce is supposed to increase 4% by 2021, while the staff from BAME backgrounds should reach an increase of 3%. Additionally, the percentage of females in leadership roles should also grow from 30% to 40% and the number of those from BAME backgrounds in leadership positions should double, passing from 5% to 11%.
“This new plan signifies The FA’s determination to accelerate the pace of change of the organisation and taking a real leadership role,” commented Paul Elliott, chair of The FA inclusion advisory board in the press release for the new plan.
“Since 2016 The FA has more than doubled the number of senior women – including now having three women on the FA Board. BAME representation at The FA has also improved greatly over recent years, but we know there is room for improvement,” he added.
The plan also identifies four priorities that require the association’s attention: the FA and its culture, the England teams’ support structure, the game’s grassroots workforce and inclusion programmes across the game.
The accomplishment of these objectives will be guided by the FA’s values, which are embodied in the word ‘pride’: progressive, respectful, inclusive, determined and excellent.
Some commitments regard the FA’s previous initiatives with positive results, others are new and reflect the association’s intention to do as much as possible to achieve a positive change.
“This plan highlights The FA’s work across the areas of the game we directly control, but we are not alone. We will continue to work with the other football authorities who are also working hard to diversify the football landscape,” Greg Clark stated.