FA committed to diversity

The Football Association is committed to becoming a more diverse organisation, according to its discipline manager Mark Ives.

Last Updated: 06/08/14 at 11:42 Post Comment

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The recent Gender in Balance in Global Sport report highlighted the absence of women in the boardrooms of sports bodies while, last month, FA chairman Greg Dyke described his organisation as “overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male”.

Speaking at the Asians in Football consultation at West Ham’s Boleyn Ground, Ives said he hopes under-representation at boardroom level will one day become a thing of the past.

“There is absolutely, genuinely a change of mindset right the way across the game and you will see results really quickly,” he told Sky Sports.

“We’ve got 29 per cent of people from BAME backgrounds on our panels, 14 per cent women and four per cent with disabilities.

“That’s a fantastic position to be in. Do I want more? Yes. But ultimately, I just want the right people doing the right job.

“I’d love to see the day where we don’t have to target people because they are under-represented. I would love to see the day where actually nobody is having the conversation because it doesn’t matter and people aren’t seen as any different to anyone else.

“But is there under-representation? Yes there is, but football has been going for a great number of years and it takes time to change those issues – but it will happen.”

Ives admitted the FA has made mistakes in the past but pointed to an example from his own field of work as an indicator of the progress being made.

“Two years ago I was dealing with a club that complained that they were being discriminated against by a league,” he said.

“We investigated and dealt with the issue but the club, who were an Asian club, were represented by a young lady from an Asian background in her mid-to-late 20s who knew nothing about football.

“She agreed to do this as a pro-bono piece of work and after representing them, she got the bug.

“She is now part of my anti-discrimination chairman’s panel, she’s a qualified coach at the club and she’s now chair of the club and linked into football.

“To me, that’s a fantastic success story because she is now sitting on FA panels when two years ago, she wasn’t even into football.

“I’d like to see that more and I’d like to see that go even higher up into the game.”

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