To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the Football Association in the recruitment of BAME referees in grassroots football.
18 January 2021
The Government is in regular dialogue with the Football Association (FA) across a range of matters, including diversity. We welcomed the launch of the FA’s ‘Football Leadership Diversity Code’ which is a step in the right direction to ensure English football better represents our modern and diverse society, on and off the pitch. The Code commits clubs to tackling inequality, including hiring targets, across senior leadership positions, broader team operations and coaching roles. The FA has also committed to following this with a version adapted for the National League System and grassroots clubs in Spring 2021.
Ministers discussed the Code with the FA, as well as other matters including tackling discrimination, in a roundtable with key football stakeholders in November 2020.
The Government is also committed to working with all sports to ensure opportunities to progress are open to all, from athletes to administrators, to board members. As an example of this, in 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. The Government will be working with UK Sport and Sport England to set new expectations and ensure the sport sector leads by example.
However, there is still progress to be made and the Government will continue to liaise closely with the football authorities on their efforts to improve diversity in the sport.