Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL) clubs, managers, players, fans and match officials all play a key role in making the professional game a welcoming and inclusive environment.
Season after season, English football achieves record-breaking figures when it comes to match attendances and those tuning in to television coverage across the globe.
A host of the best players from around the world continue to head to these shores to ply their trade, and the mixed demographic of those on the pitch is an encouraging development.
When the Premier League began in 1992, there were only 11 non-British or Irish footballers. Now there over 70 different nationalities alone.
Unfortunately, this level of diversity is not reflected throughout other areas of the game, in management and coaching, in the boardroom, amongst club staff or in the stands and on the terraces. Kick It Out is striving to ensure this changes by working closely with professional clubs and the football authorities.
A key area of the campaign’s work is supporting both the Premier League and EFL to implement the Equality Standard and Code of Practice respectively.
Premier League clubs are required to work towards one of the three levels of the Equality Standard– the Preliminary Level, the Intermediate Level or the Advanced Level – to help them recognise existing activities they deliver to under-represented groups and individuals as well as identify new target markets and fans for the future. The awards also enhance club’s internal and external policies.
EFL clubs are required to work towards the Code of Practice, which is a foundation level of equality work within the Professional Game. The award helps clubs to identify current areas of good practice and also areas for development when working with their local communities or as an employer. A number of EFL clubs, such as Newcastle United, Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City have progressed beyond the EFL Code of Practice and are now working towards the Premier League Equality Standard.
To enhance the effectiveness of the Standard and the campaign’s general presence throughout the professional leagues, Kick It Out also runs a Professional Game Guidance Group. Members of the group provide guidance and advice around strategies and objectives adopted by the campaign.
Kick It Out works with professional clubs across the Premier League, EFL and FA WSL to raise awareness of equality and diversity in order to tackle discrimination.
Every season, all 92 professional men’s clubs hold at least one dedicated fixture to raise awareness of Kick It Out’s message, including activities such as players and managers wearing t-shirts, flag bearers, public announcements, promotion of the Kick It Out reporting app, community football tournaments, programme articles and educational workshops during the build up to the specified fixture.
Kick It Out provide professional clubs with a menu of opportunities in order to support their work around dedicated fixtures, encouraging as many staff and supporters to engage with the campaign as possible.
Kick It Out provide a number of educational opportunities for players and staff at professional clubs. In support of the EFL’s Code of Practice, clubs have access to Playing for Inclusion workshops which raise awareness amongst professionals working in football of current issues around equality and diversity.
Kick It Out also offer workshops in partnerships with clubs to deliver in local schools, colleges and universities, as well as delivering Premier League Equality Inspires and LFE Life Skills workshops, alongside sessions for players and managers.
In 2016, Kick It Out launched the Equality and Diversity Awareness Award, run in partnership with Solent University, for professionals working in the industry.
For more information regarding Kick It Out’s work with professional clubs, please contact Keeley Baptista, Kick It Out’s Programmes Manager, via email at keeley@Kickitout.org.