Rabbatts and Townsend meet in wake of discrimination case
Heather Rabbatts, Board member of The Football Association (FA) and Chair of its Inclusion Advisory Board, has met with Troy Townsend, Education and Development Manager at Kick It Out, following on from a discrimination case involving the youth team he managed. The pair have met twice since the case involving alleged discrimination towards Townsend’s Redbridge Under-17s side was found unproven.
Heather said: “Troy and I have had some very constructive conversations and together we have looked at ways in which we can improve some of the grievance procedures at grassroots level, how can ensure adequate representation on those panels which preside over discrimination cases, and how we best support the young people who go through this sometime daunting process. We are now implementing these changes including ensuring BAME representation on panels, supporting reporting of incidents at grassroots level and giving more guidance and support to young people appearing in front of panels.
“Troy has been very helpful in sharing his experiences not only of this incident, but of many years working and coaching at grassroots level, something which we can try and tap into going forward. He will be involved at Kent County FA through the On The Board corporate governance scheme which will further help this ongoing dialogue.
Troy said: “This is no longer about the case I was involved in but how we move on and learn from mistakes made. My meetings with Heather have been productive and the case is already playing an important role in helping The FA understand the challenges faced on a regular basis at grassroots level. I see this as a significant step towards bringing the game closer together on these issues.
“It’s vital people working in grassroots football feel confident that changes to processes and procedures are being thought about and most importantly implemented. Young players need to be given proper recognition when they are involved in a hearing, and support must be provided to those who feel victimised and isolated. I am looking forward to making further recommendations moving forward especially when it comes to instilling greater confidence in reporting.”
We want to hear from you on the issue of discrimination in grassroots football. We have launched a consultation giving you the opportunity to have your voice heard, and to provide us with further insight and understanding of how we can strengthen the battle against discrimination at grassroots level. Please have your say by filling in our consultation here which will help to shape our future work.