Manchester hosts IAB as pair join FA Council

Friday 10 Oct 2014
IAB meet at Manchester United's Old Trafford

The FA's Inclusion Advisory Board (IAB) joined its Manchester counterparts this week at Old Trafford.

The board came together to discuss some of the game's current issues around equality, inclusion and discrimination. 

It was the first IAB meeting away from Wembley as part of the group's commitment to go 'on the road' and offered the chance to meet the Manchester IAB, led by former PFA chair Clarke Carlisle. 

The FA IAB also confirmed Paul Elliott as a new FA council member where he joins fellow IAB member, Rimla Akhtar.

“The commitment to tackling all forms of discrimination within the game is clear to see”

Colin Bridgford 


Rimla, who joined Council in April, is chair of the Muslim Women's Sports Foundation (MWSF) and has 13 years' experience as an independent consultant specialising in gender, race and faith equality across the UK, Middle East and Asia, championing sport for Muslim women. 

She is a chartered accountant by trade, has captained the British Muslim Women’s football team, played cricket for her county as a teenager and now an increasingly a key voice on equality, inclusion and anti-discrimination. 

As a former professional footballer, beginning at Charlton Athletic, moving to Luton Town then Aston Villa, Paul moved to Bari in Italy and then Celtic in Scotland before becoming Chelsea's first black captain in 1991. Paul brings significant experience from the game. 

He is widely respected for his work over 30 years, tackling racism and discrimination both here in England and with UEFA and FIFPRO and has been awarded the MBE and CBE honours for his work in this field and will join his first Council meeting on 16 October.

IAB chair Heather Rabbatts welcomed the appointment. 

She said: "Real diversity can only come with representation and I'm confident Paul will relay some of the key agenda items from the IAB to his new colleagues on the council. He has a huge amount to offer."

Colin Bridgford, CEO from Manchester County FA, was equally positive about the meeting.

He said: "To meet with the FA IAB gave us a tremendous opportunity to share both the challenges and successes that we have faced within the initial eight months of our own County FA IAB.

"The commitment to tackling all forms of discrimination within the game is clear to see and I praise and thank them for their commitment to supporting not just our own group, but County FA’s generally.

"The meeting helped our members focus on the challenges ahead and as CEO it was pleasing to see the interaction and passion of both organisations."

Current issues such as the coaching pathway for black and Asian coaches, in light of the recent Rooney Rule debate were discussed, as well as updates on the IAB's work on gender, LGBT, mental health and disability access work.

The IAB meets again in January at Brighton and Hove Albion FC.

By FA Staff