English Football’s inclusion & anti-discrimination action plan ran from 2013 to 2017 and proved successful in co-ordinating and addressing some of the key challenges facing the game.
However, despite some success, there are significant issues that require renewed and sustained focus from the football authorities.
We must better demonstrate our leadership on this agenda.
This will require better co-ordination with our partners, a more clearly defined role for our Inclusion Advisory Board (IAB), increased central FA support into the County FAs to help support their inclusion and diversity work in the grassroots and increased commissioning of external partners such as Kick it Out, which might be better placed to deliver improved outcomes in the game. Therefore we will undertake the following:-
• The IAB chairman, Paul Elliott, will attend all FA Board meetings as an observer with immediate effect. The IAB will present the next iteration of its plan for 2018 for approval on an annual basis with quarterly progress updates provided to the Board. The equality, diversity and inclusion plan will be written into a revised FA strategic plan for 2016-20.
• The chief executive of Kick It Out will be invited to attend all IAB meetings as an ex-officio member, to help improve the co-ordination of inclusion work across the game.
• Furthermore, representatives from the Premier League, English Football League, National League, Professional Footballers Association, League Managers Association and the Football Supporters Federation will be invited to attend IAB meetings.
• We are committed to continue working alongside the Leagues [in consultation with their respective clubs], the PFA and the LMA to address the shortage of BAME coaches working in the game. This objective will be a central tenet of the new plan and a standing agenda item for the IAB
• We will re-run the "State of Play" survey across the FA and County FAs and collect data via the Whole Game System [WGS] on the diversity of the football workforce. This data will be reviewed internally, by the IAB in order to set future targets
• The IAB with the support of Kick It Out and the football authorities will create an annual 'state of the nation' report on diversity in football
• A member of the Football Regulatory Authority [FRA, the FA’s rule-making body] will be responsible for direct and regular liaison with the IAB, whilst the chairman of the IAB will also present to the Football Regulatory Authority at least once a season on the progress of our inclusion work and potential implications for the Football Regulatory Authority. A representative of the IAB will also be invited to join the FRA’s stakeholder consultation group and compliance monitoring group.
• Kick It Out will be commissioned to provide support to County FAs and offer assistance to develop diversity at work, in clubs and leagues and in leadership positions.
• Taking the recent example of London FA, County FAs will be encouraged to achieve Sport England governance code requirements. This would not only support their diversification and inclusion but also ensure they are individually able to receive public funding for their own development programmes
• We will extend 'Fans for Diversity' to National League Clubs, charging the Football Supporters Federation [FSF] via Kick It Out to engage clubs with communities, new fan bases and volunteers. The extension of the programme could be integrated with the CFA engagement programmes above. This requires the funding of at least one additional head at FSF [via Kick It Out].