Former Manchester United and England footballer Rio Ferdinand is urging the soccer community to address the lack of diversity in leadership roles within the sport. He emphasizes that the decisions impacting football should be made by individuals who understand and empathize with the players and the game’s dynamics.
Representation on the Pitch vs. Decision-Making Roles
Notes that while soccer is incredibly diverse, with players from various backgrounds, this diversity is not reflect in leadership positions within the sport. The decision-makers, according to Ferdinand, do not always have a complete understanding of the people on the pitch.
Diversity Statistics in English Soccer
A report by the Black Footballers’ Partnership from 2023 reveal that only 4.4% of management-relate positions in England’s top four professional soccer leagues (Premier League, Championship, League One, and League Two) by Black employees, representing a slight increase from 3.7% in 2022. The report show a real-term increase of eight jobs.
In the 2021-22 season, English Football League clubs advertise 83 coaching positions, receiving 1,597 applications, with 19% from minority candidates. Of those, 23% reach the interview stage, and only 22 individuals successful.
Praise for Brentford FC’s Diversity Initiatives
Commend Brentford FC, a club in West London, for its commitment to diversity, stating that the club has “diversity throughout from top to bottom.” He views Brentford as a leading example in promoting diversity and inclusion within the sport. Earlier in the year, Brentford recognize by the Premier League for its efforts in equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).
Ferdinand’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
He underscores his own commitment to diversity and inclusion in his businesses and highlights the need for change. He mention a situation where he receive a document with pictures and names of senior people in the company, and he the only person of color among them. Ferdinand sent the document back and demand a change, emphasizing that diversity is of personal importance to him.
Rio believes in reaching out to communities and encouraging people to come forward, even if they lack experience. Rio aims to break down the perception that doors are close to individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Future Leadership Role
Express his willingness to step into a leadership position within soccer in the future, as he believes he has the capability to do so. While he is currently involve in various businesses, he foresees a time when he ready to assume a leadership role in the sport, although he does not specify at what level or within which organization.
In conclusion, Rio Ferdinand is advocating for greater diversity in leadership positions in soccer, emphasizing the importance of understanding and empathizing with the players and the game itself.