A one-year progress update on the elite game Football Leadership Diversity Code

Wednesday 10 Nov 2021

The Football Leadership Diversity Code for the elite game launched in October 2020 and now has over 50 signatories across the top tiers of the men’s and women’s game, including all Premier League clubs, as well as the FA, Premier League, EFL and seven recruitment partners.

We will report on progress annually, with key highlights from 1 September 2020 to 31 August 2021 outlined below. While the Code launched during the global pandemic, which led to significantly suppressed recruitment across the game, the collective football results show the focus on recruitment has provided a good foundation to be built on in future.

Over the 2020-21 season, football collectively exceeded diversity targets in hiring senior leadership and men’s club senior coaches, while making progress against the targets in other areas.

The full report, including updates from each signatory club and organisation, can be found here

Recognising that clubs are at different parts of their journey with ranging capabilities, data systems and resources and to help drive immediate change, the Code specifically focuses on recruitment data rather than overall representation data.

To support the Code, we also launched a central careers platform in early 2021 to create greater transparency of roles available across English football, and to help organisations and clubs reach a larger and more diverse audience of candidates. All signatories of the Code can advertise vacancies on the platform and since its launch, 900 vacancies have been posted, with over 4,600 applications. Of these, 39 per cent of performance role applicants were from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background, while 71 per cent of signatories say it has improved the diversity of applicants. We continue to proactively encourage individuals who want a role within football to register their profile on the platform for alerts and to search for roles relevant to them on an ongoing basis.

Edleen John, our Director of International Relations, Corporate Affairs and Co-partner for EDI, said: "The commitment shown towards the Football Leadership Diversity Code shows that there is a strong, collective desire to create long-term change and ensure the representation we see on the pitch is reflected off it. We believe that with clear commitments and transparency, we can shape a better future for English football.

"We acknowledge that some signatories are new to collecting this type of data, so we must recognise that this is a first step to implementing diversity-focused recruitment targets and driving collective change. This is a positive start in incredibly challenging circumstances and while the progress is promising, it must improve further. Each signatory can play their part and that’s why coming together in this way is powerful.

"While everybody is coming from a different starting point, we can all impact recruitment immediately. We continue to encourage more clubs to sign up to the Code and collectively we will support each other on this important journey. The Code is a first-of-its-kind for our industry and this positive action will ensure we drive meaningful change and tackle inequality at all levels of our game, ensuring opportunities are truly inclusive for all."

More information on the Football Leadership Diversity Code can be found here.

By Communications department