Iffy Onuora gets 'On Board' with new FA backed scheme

Thursday 06 Nov 2014
Iffy Onuora in action for Sheffield United
Former Sheffield United and Tranmere Rovers defender Iffy Onuora has championed The Football Association-backed ‘On Board’ scheme.

Having progressed through the programme and gaining a certificate in corporate governance, Onuora has joined an increasing number of black former players such as Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey in shadowing board meetings in football.

Kick It Out trustee Onuora, who began his playing career at Huddersfield Town back in 1989, spoke to TheFA.com before stepping into his second board meeting and revealed some of the topics discussed.

"There was a lot of discussion around coach education, which falls squarely within my remit at the PFA, so it was great to see Dan Ashworth, someone I’ve known for a long time, come in and present some of his ideas," he said.

"It’s important that people like myself get that opportunity for a glimpse into the mechanisms of decision making"

Iffy Onuora

"Issues relating to The FA commission were discussed as well as the future direction of the association. You could say they’re ‘man-in-the-pub’ topics but brought to life and seen within a boardroom context, which is really interesting."

The ‘On Board’ scheme, devised by governance expert Karl George and backed by the PFA and The FA, helps black and Asian former players acquire the corporate governance skills to bring more diversity, as well as football expertise, to boardrooms.

And it is "fantastic" to see The FA tackling a live issue, according to Onuora.

"I’m hoping to learn how to be an effective board member, which is a key part of what the ‘On Board’ scheme is all about. I would have liked to have been given that opportunity in any field but to be afforded it within the game, something I’m close to, is fantastic," he said.

"The issue of under-representation from BAME coaches and players is a ‘live’ issue at the moment not just in the dugout, but in the boardroom as well. 

"So it’s important that people like myself get that opportunity for a glimpse into the mechanisms of decision making in the higher reaches of the game, not just for myself but so others can follow. Visibility is really important.

"It’s an interesting time for The FA at the minute so it’s brilliant to be part of it."

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) was formed in 1907 and is the world’s longest established professional sportsperson’s union.

Its aims are to protect, improve and negotiate the conditions, rights and status of all professional players by collective bargaining agreements.

Visit the PFA website for more details of their work.

By FA Staff