Watford FC outline their commitment to our Football Leadership Diversity Code

Watford FC are one of the many professional clubs that have pledged their support for our Football Leadership Diversity Code. Here, the Hornets explain how a history of diversity within the club provides a legacy to follow in the present day…

Wednesday 25 Nov 2020
Vicarage Road, the home of Watford Football Club.

As the original 'Family Club' in football - a legacy the club cherishes created from its roots in the drive and passion of the late, great Graham Taylor and Elton John - there were never fences around the pitch at Vicarage Road.

Just warm welcomes for everyone, from whatever background they came, back from the 1970s to the current day; the culture and heartbeat remains just as strong.

The Hornets on the rise featured two of the highest-profile Black superstars of the age in John Barnes and Luther Blissett, and a diverse mix of ethnicities, genders and ages was nothing remarkable for a Hornets home match.

It's this legacy which guides how the club acts now. While driving towards the Advanced Equality Standard with the Premier League, the habits ingrained over many years means our extended network of contacts with local ethnic groups and other organisations who represent treasured minorities in society is as strong as it ever was.

As chairman, Elton's openly gay lifestyle led to many personal challenges with regards to a career intertwining football with showbiz, but - like the club is today - he was determined Watford FC should connect strongly with its local community and be a force for good in the town and local area. 

Fortunately, he had a visionary manager alongside him to bring this to life.

Lifelong Watford supporter Sir Elton John CBE became club chairman in 1976.

The breadth and depth of the work undertaken by our current day Community Sports & Education Trust means we have touchpoints across all parts of society. 

Whether it's one of the longest-running Kickz projects in the country, 'Golden Memories' to give those with mild-to-moderate dementia a chance to meet, or our newly-written curriculum offering to partnered schools celebrating figures of note from Black history being delivered by our women's squad, there's always a way to feel as though the club is ready to welcome you. 

Indeed, as a mark of their passion to educate others, Watford FC Women have all chosen a squad number that relates to a significant moment in Black history, feeling this will better enhance their educational messaging.

Because we believe passionately in what we do and the messages the Football Leadership Diversity Code seeks to embed within society - using football as a powerful communications conduit, it's a natural extension of our existing commitment to develop the diversity of our workforce at all levels within our club.

If every club signs up to the Code then the opportunities will be there for people from diverse backgrounds to gain meaningful employment within the sport and, in turn, strengthen the message - by action and not just words - that discrimination doesn't belong in our sport or indeed anywhere in society.

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