Brighton & Hove Albion on reasons behind signing Football Leadership Diversity Code

Brighton & Hove Albion are just one of a huge number of professional clubs that have pledged their support for our Football Leadership Diversity Code. Here, the Seagulls outline the reasons for their support…

Friday 04 Dec 2020
Brighton & Hove Albion supporters showing their passion for the Seagulls

We're extremely proud of our equality, diversity and inclusion work to date so signing up to the Football Leadership Diversity Code was a logical move for us and compliments the work we're already doing to address under-representation within our football club. 

We don’t shy away from being held to account and we believe that having targets to aim for gives us a clear line of sight to where we want to be. 

Without those targets, data and measurement, it makes it very difficult to take a proper look at progress, and reflect on how we have done over a specific period of time.  

We recognise that there is much more work that can be done in the football industry, and across many other industries, to ensure everybody has equal opportunity and accessibility to jobs, opportunities to progress and have their voices heard. 

As an industry which is often in the spotlight, we want to be part of something which sees football lead the way and set an example in wider society.  

We recognise the importance of increasing female inclusion across the club and female representation at senior levels.  We also accept that there is a clear gap between the diversity amongst football players and the coaching staff and we all have a responsibility to ensure coaches are representative of the players.

The Football Leadership Diversity Code provides welcome flexibility for clubs to set their own targets based on their individual starting point and local demographic and it also allows space for clubs to add context to their over or under achievements against targets in any given year, and then adapt accordingly.  

We're proud to be a part of the founding group of signatories and feel strongly that this can have the added impact of encouraging others to begin the process, or at least starting those important conversations between clubs at all levels, and the key stakeholders in the game. We want to help share good practice, bench-marking ideals and generation of ideas.  

For too long, large groups of British society have been ostracised from certain levels of football to varying degrees, due to a variety of different and often unknown or investigated reasons – but ultimately not good reasons. 

Different diverse groups across society have been sorely under represented across many different levels of the game in the UK; it might be due to gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, disability, or another of the nine recognised protected characteristics. 

While this is changing, and has changed at many levels, there are other areas, where those diverse groups – who contribute so much to rich tapestry of football in its homeland – are not properly and effectively represented or given that voice they deserve at other crucial and important sectors of the game.

Our hope is that by signing up to the Code we can help our club achieve this across every level within our organisation – but also to continue to change the thinking in a sport where the general consensus of the industry is that there are areas of the game that lack genuine diversity to reflect both the game as a whole, but also within the communities which they serve. 

There are trailblazers and isolated examples, but our hope is that we can establish why those pathways are blocked in certain areas, and investigate whether those huge talent pools from diverse sections of society actually have no genuine belief that they can reach those levels because of an inherent perception of prejudice – built up by history – which doesn’t allow those individuals from such diverse backgrounds to believe they can attain certain roles, regardless of actually having the skill and the ability to do so.

Ultimately – and for whatever reason, and it is hard to be simplistic about the reasons – the football industry is cutting off huge talent pools, of individuals who have the skills, knowledge, expertise, ability and experience to help drive clubs and the game forward, at a time when it needs it most. 

The challenge is to open up those rich, diverse talent pools and give those within them the encouragement, belief and confidence that they can aspire to reach the level they rightly have the ability to reach.

Find more information on how to sign up to the Football Leadership Diversity Code, and further detail on its principles, pledges and definitions.

By FA Staff