- Progress has been made towards the Football Leadership Diversity Code targets during the 2021-22 season, but there is more work to be done across the game
- Clubs collectively exceed targets of hiring Black, Asian and Mixed Heritage candidates in senior coaching roles across the men’s game and in coaching roles in women’s football
- However, clubs see a decrease in the number of diverse candidates hired into senior management and coaching roles in the men’s game, as well as a decrease in female coaches hired in women’s football
The landmark Code was introduced in October 2020 to ensure English football better represents our modern society, focusing on increasing equality of opportunity to encourage recruitment of diverse talent across senior leadership teams, team operations and coaching setups.
The Code now has over 60 signatories, including all Premier League clubs, 32 EFL clubs, The FA, Premier League, EFL, Barclays Women’s Super League and Barclays Women’s Championship, which are all committed to tackling inequality and embedding greater diversity in the long term.
During the second season of the Code, some progress was made, with football collectively exceeding targets in hiring Black, Asian and Mixed Heritage senior coaches in the men’s game and coaches in women’s football.
There was an uplift in the number of recruitment shortlists which had Black, Asian and Mixed Heritage female candidates, while the number of diverse male candidates increased again.
However, while some clubs are showing that positive change is possible, it is clear that more needs to be done across the game to meet the Code’s targets.
Disappointingly, the 2021-22 season saw a decrease in the number of senior management hires for both female and Black, Asian and Mixed Heritage candidates.
The recruitment of non-senior diverse coaches in the men’s game, as well as female coaches in women’s football, also fell below the targets during the season.
Some signatories had more success than others, which may be because they have more diverse communities from which to recruit, but it is also likely that variations are due to some clubs having more mature equality, diversity and inclusion [EDI] and recruitment frameworks.
With the Premier League’s EDI Standard updated in 2021, and the EFL’s Together strategy launched this autumn, all clubs should soon have the tools to ensure they are recruiting the best talent from diverse shortlists.
On the release of the figures, our Chair Sanjay Bhandari said: "The results on recruitment of Black, Asian and Mixed Heritage coaches in both the men's and women's game, and the achievement of targets by the football authorities, are encouraging.
There is also plenty of room for improvement in other areas such as senior leadership and the recruitment of female coaches.
Two years into the process, now is a good time for pause and reflection across the industry, to share learnings and best practice. Collectively, that will enable us to increase the pace of change."
Find out more about the Football Leadership Diversity Code on the FA's Website.