English football clubs FAIL to meet FA’s diversity targets

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English football clubs FAIL to meet FA’s diversity targets with only 10% of new hires in senior management roles coming from the BAME community… as chief executive Mark Bullingham says ‘more must be done’

  • Football Association has revealed figures for second year of its Diversity Code
  • It found stakeholders such as Premier League and EFL achieved their targets
  • But English clubs collectively are still not diverse enough in their appointments
  • There was a rise in BAME coaches but this doesn’t apply to senior management
  • FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said a ‘huge amount still needs to be done’ 

English football clubs are failing to meet diversity targets in the latest set of results for the FA’s Leadership Diversity Code.

While the stakeholders – including the Football Association, Premier League and EFL – have met their targets; clubs have delivered a disappointing set of collective scores in the Code’s second year.

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Some clubs – such as Chelsea – have delivered on their pledges but collectively English football has failed to meet its targets.

The FA’s historic code was launched in 2020 with a view to increasing BAME representation at the very top of the national game.

But clubs have not hit their targets in six of the eight categories embedded into the code.

Teams, though, have exceeded expectations in new senior coaching hires in men’s football. 

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said a ‘huge amount’ still needed to be done to match diversity targets in coaching and leadership roles in the English game

The FA's figures found a lack of BAME appointments to senior leadership roles, with a low average of just 10.3 per cent across clubs in England

The FA’s figures found a lack of BAME appointments to senior leadership roles, with a low average of just 10.3 per cent across clubs in England

Clubs were set a target of 10 per cent of new senior coaching hires in the men’s games would be BAME – they have recorded an impressive 21 per cent in that field.

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This is particularly important because retiring players are more likely to head into coaching rather than boardroom or executive positions at clubs.

In contrast, however, clubs pledged to ensure 15 per cent of new hires in senior management positions would be from the BAME community. They delivered a score of 10.3 per cent.

Likewise, clubs were set a target of 30 per cent of new hires in senior leadership positions would be female – they delivered just 17.2 per cent in that category.

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira is the only black manager in the Premier League

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira is the only black manager in the Premier League

In the women’s game, 33.3 per cent of new hires have been female – way below the target of 50 per cent.

Women’s clubs, though, have exceeding expectation in ensuring at least 15 per cent of new coaching hires are BAME.

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Mark Bullingham, FA chief executive, indicated clubs’ need to improve, saying: ‘This year shows some signs of progress, with a shift in recruitment processes that will start to change the game and the three governing bodies exceeding seven out of eight targets.

Darren Moore is currently the manager of League One club Sheffield Wednesday

Darren Moore is currently the manager of League One club Sheffield Wednesday

‘However, while we saw clubs exceeding diversity targets for senior coaches in the men’s game and coaches in the women’s game, there is still a huge amount of work to be done across the game.

‘We understand that substantive change will take time, but a number of clubs have already made progress, and we expect to see more clubs follow that lead in years to come.’

There is encouragement that more ethnically diverse candidates are being interviewed for roles – but converting those talks into job offers is a clear obstacle as it stands.

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