The Football Association has announced a major increase in grassroots funding and several initiatives to boost diversity within the game.
The new plan is in response to the Eni Aluko affair which eventually led to the sacking of England women’s team manager Mark Sampson and to soul-searching within the FA about why the organisation continues to lurch from crisis to crisis, with little attention paid to its successes.
“The initiatives and investments announced today will make a significant impact to the way football is run in this country,” FA chief executive Martin Glenn said in a statement.
“They illustrate both how committed the FA is to becoming a more inclusive and diverse organisation, and how much it contributes to English football.
“The FA will now invest over £180 million a year back into the game, more than we have ever done before, which will have a positive and meaningful impact at every level of football in England.”
The investment is a 38% increase on the £123m the FA has put into the game this season and will include an extra £9m more a year for grassroots facilities, with an increase in mini-pitches for youth clubs and primary schools, and an extra £6m a year for grassroots participation.
The FA will look to ensure that each of England’s 64,000 youth teams has a coach with at least a level-one qualification but another new initiative will be the creation of a network of 150 “community club hubs”, where each hub will have a subsidised UEFA B level coach mentor.
There will also be a cash injection for disability football, Futsal and the women’s game.
Changes to the ‘cultural’ aspect of the game will include:
- A new whistle-blowing policy for players and codes of conduct and bespoke diversity training for coaches and staff
- The adoption of a voluntary ‘Rooney Rule’ to interview a qualified black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidate for every new coaching job, and working with the Professional Footballers’ Association to identify and train promising BAME coaches
- The publication of an external review of the FA’s diversity and equality record by Easter and the disclosure of its gender pay gap in April
- A bigger role for its Inclusion Advisory Body, closer co-operation with anti-racism charity Kick It Out and an annual diversity report
- The creation of a Football Advisory Panel to benefit from the expertise of former players and managers
- The trial of “on-camera” briefings by former players to give a “human face” to the FA’s disciplinary decisions