The board met on 23 July and set out below are the main points discussed at the meeting.
Paul Elliott (Inclusion Advisory Board chair), Rachel Brace (HR director) and Dal Darroch (head of diversity & inclusion) presented to the board on progress with The FA’s anti-discrimination initiatives, an understanding of the current sentiments of FA staff following recent events such as Black Lives Matter and the new Football Leadership Diversity Code.
The FA’s diversity & inclusion strategy, In Pursuit of Progress, is in its third year since being launched in 2018 and, as part of our new strategic priorities for 2020-2024, we have set ourselves the challenge of using our influence to deliver a game free from discrimination. We have held listening sessions with The FA’s Black and Asian staff to better understand their experiences of the environment in which they work. Paul is leading on improving diversity at senior levels of the game with his call to action to develop a Football Leadership Diversity Code. These are all steps in the right direction and it is now incumbent on all football stakeholders to engage and deliver positive outcomes for the game.
The board received a presentation on the strategy for the women’s professional game from Baroness Sue Campbell (director of women’s football) and Kelly Simmons (director of the women’s professional game). We have set ourselves the mission of building the best professional women’s sports leagues in the world. The principal objectives to achieve this will be to recruit and develop world class talent, engage bigger audiences and grow the commercial revenue in order to achieve financial sustainability. The women’s game is the biggest opportunity we have to grow the game and having successful professional leagues and England teams will undoubtedly help to encourage more young girls to play football.
Our strategic plan for the period 2016-2020 has come to an end. The board looked back at some of the successes of the 2019-20 season, which ended with the global pandemic and the many challenges this brought to all levels of the game. The board formally approved the new strategic plan for the period to 2024. The targets we hope to achieve in this period will reflect our new financial position but we look forward to delivering our new objectives for the betterment of football.
Kate Tinsley has served on the board as an independent director since 2017 and will shortly be coming to the end of her first three-year term. Kate continues to make a valuable contribution to the board and we unanimously endorsed her being appointed for a second term. This will now go forward to the FA council for approval.
The next board meeting is in September.