The Football Association [The FA] launched the Football Leadership Diversity Code in 2020 to drive diversity and inclusion across English football, with clubs across the Premier League, English Football League, Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship committing to tackle inequality across senior leadership positions, broader team operations and coaching roles.
The Football Leadership Diversity Code was developed in collaboration with club executives, players, coaches, HR directors, media and leaders across the game to ensure English football better represents our modern and diverse society. Recognising that clubs and support structures off the pitch do not reflect the increasing gender and ethnic diversity seen on the pitch, it will increase accountability and transparency and will see The FA, key stakeholders and clubs across the men’s and women’s game commit to embedding greater diversity across senior leadership teams, team operations and coaching setups.
Derby County Football Club were one of the clubs from across the professional game that will adopt the Football Leadership Diversity Code as a founding signatory.
The Code focuses on increasing equality of opportunity with hiring targets – rather than quotas – to encourage recruitment from across society. Hiring will be based on merit, to find the best person for the job from diverse talent pipelines. The aim is to move away from recruitment practices focused on personal networks, which is a longstanding challenge across football and has limited the diversity in leadership across the game.
It is viewed as a starting point towards greater diversity and, while focusing on gender and ethnicity now in reflection of the current player base, it will expand more broadly over time.
The Premier League and multiple clubs from across the Premier League, English Football League, Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship committed to embedding the Code within its own practices upon its launch. While not mandatory, The FA is encouraging all clubs across the men’s and women’s games to sign up to the voluntary Code.
By signing up to the Football Leadership Diversity Code, clubs pledge to create an equality, diversity and inclusion plan which applies hiring targets while adopting specific recruitment principles.
The targets, which became effective immediately, include:
SENIOR LEADERSHIP AND TEAM OPERATIONS
• 15% of new hires will be Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage [or a target set by the club based on local demographics]
• 30% of new hires will be female
COACHING: MEN’S PROFESSIONAL CLUBS
• 25% of new hires will be Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage
• 10% of new senior coaching hires will be Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage
COACHING: WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL CLUBS
• 50% of new hires will be female
• 15% of new hires will be Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage
• Shortlists for interview will have at least one male and one female Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage candidate, if applicants meeting the job specifications apply.
More information on how to sign up to the Football Leadership Diversity Code can be found at TheFA.com/FLDC.