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Football: Equality

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL7894, tabled on 7 September 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Football Association about increasing diversity among (1) grassroots, and (2) professional, football referees.

Answered on

15 September 2020

We are in regular dialogue with the Football Association (FA) across a range of matters, including diversity. I welcomed the FA’s announcement of a new voluntary code for Equality in Football Leadership, which aims to champion equality in football and tackle all forms of discrimination in the game.

The Government is committed to working with sports to ensure opportunities to progress are open to all, from athletes to administrators, to board members. As an example of this, on 13 July 2020 Sport England and UK Sport announced a joint review of the Code for Sports Governance. The Code sets out the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity required from those who ask for government and National Lottery funding. It currently says that organisations must show a "strong and public commitment" to progressing ethnic diversity. However, it is right to review this to ensure that opportunities to progress are open to all. Government will be working with UK Sport and Sport England to set new expectations and ensure the sport sector leads by example.

It is also important that referees feel safe and supported. That is why I was pleased to see the football authorities commit to improving reporting systems and providing better training and support for referees and stewards last year - including improved CCTV.