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30th Nov, 2023

Four new appointments to join our trustee board

Former Leicester City captain Wes Morgan is one of four new additions to Kick It Out’s Trustee board.

The Premier League title winner was unanimously nominated by the Football Association, the Premier League, the English Football League and the Professional Footballers’ Association to become their sole representative on Kick It Out’s board.

Morgan will also be joined by Dan Jones, a former partner at Deloitte, Sarah Batters, a commercial development consultant who advises brands, Premier League clubs and the women’s game, and Di Mayze, global head of data and AI at WPP.

Morgan, Jones, Batters and Mayze will bring new expertise from a football, business, commercial, financial and data background, also providing additional independence to Kick It Out’s board, marking the start of a new journey in its 30th anniversary year.

A recent impact report commissioned for that milestone showed Kick It Out’s work had made football safer and more inclusive over the last three decades, but the vast majority of fans still believe that more needs to be done to combat discrimination.  

Sanjay Bhandari, Chair of Kick It Out, said: “We are excited to bring four extremely talented and trusted specialists into the fold and we are confident that their combined expertise can help us to deliver our mission to make football a game where everyone feels that they belong.

“Each new trustee brings new and different skills to our board aligned to our future strategic direction. We are delighted to have a player of Wes Morgan’s stature and calibre, giving us that recent connection to the lived experience of players. Sarah’s background in building commercial relationships in football will help us to build even greater financial independence.  

“Dan’s wealth of knowledge and connections in the sports industry and beyond will help plug us into the latest and best strategic and operational thinking. We also know that data and technology will be at the heart of change, so Di’s extensive experience in data and AI will be crucial.

“On behalf of Kick It Out, I would like to personally thank our outgoing trustees Kat Allen (Premier League), John Nagle (EFL), James MacDougall (The FA) and Simone Pound (PFA) for their hard work and dedication over many years to help football become a more welcoming sport.”

Morgan led Leicester to one of the most remarkable achievements in English football history when they won the Premier League title in 2016 against huge odds. The former defender, who made over 750 appearances for Nottingham Forest, Leicester City and the Jamaican national team, also captained Leicester to victory in the Championship in 2014 and 2021 FA Cup.

Following his retirement in 2021, Morgan has helped inform the Premier League’s No Room For Racism Action Plan as part of the League’s Black Participants' Advisory Group. He has also turned his attention to the business side of football by participating on the League’s Player to Executive Pathway Scheme, sits on the PFA’s Player Board and is a qualified Sporting Director after completing a Masters. 

Morgan said: “I’m looking forward to working with Kick It Out at a time when attempts to tackle discrimination and add greater diversity to football are gathering pace. Although there are still some areas to tackle, we have seen the power of greater diversity among professional players in the men’s game, and I want to help build on that to ensure there is better representation of all communities in the women’s game, coaching and leadership positions.”     

Batters added: “I’m really pleased to be joining Kick It Out as one of the new trustees. The work of Kick it Out closely aligns with my personal and professional values - making football, and wider sport, a place for all.

“I’m proud to bring both my commercial experience working in professional men's and women's football and my volunteer experience at grassroots girls’ football to this role to help keep progressing the brilliant work Kick It Out does for our society.”

Bhandari added: “We believe the key to achieving our ambitions is to position ourselves as a trusted bridge between under-represented communities in football and those with power to effect change.

“I believe that our new board creates better balance as we seek to extend our credibility and trust with people across football, from the boardroom to grassroots. Kick It Out has already moved away from being entirely reliant on the football authorities for our funding, including an extension of our partnership with Sky, and we intend to be bold and ambitious in this new chapter.”

Simone Pound, Director of Equality Diversity and Inclusion at the PFA, added: “Wes is a thoughtful and strong character who is using his platform and voice to benefit other professionals.

“The range of experience he brings from his long career in the game will be a valuable addition to Kick It Out’s work. Wes was elected by other players to serve as a member of the PFA’s Player Board, which shows how well respected he is across the game.”