This day is no different with Leicester City’s title-winning captain Wes Morgan lining up alongside current Birmingham City striker and primary education campaigner Troy Deeney for a panel at the Premier League Charitable Fund’s annual Equality, Diversity and Inclusion conference.
Designed to support EDI leads at professional football club community organisations across the pyramid to explore ways to collectively lead positive change, the conference explored how positive disruption can lead to meaningful conversations, positive actions, and continual progress.
In front of an audience of employees from 75 football club community organisations, the duo discussed the importance of the ongoing commitment to tackle discrimination and promote diversity within the Premier League, the game at all levels and wider society, as well as sharing their own lived experiences.
The importance of BPAG
Morgan is a member of the Premier League’s Black Participants Advisory Group [BPAG], which is responsible for helping to create the No Room For Racism Action Plan, which launched in February 2021.
He said: “I’ve been involved [with BPAG] for a few years now. We look at issues and try to find solutions to make positive change and improve the way things are working. So, we are there to advise on decisions and design and implement ways to improve the situation.
“As Leicester City captain, I always felt I had a duty of care to my players, especially providing help and support to the younger generation. So, in some ways and at this age, this role helps me to continue that.
"If you look into the past, diversity and inclusion wasn’t seen as that big of a topic. So, an Action Plan which take things very seriously is great and obviously very important."
“Today's football is so multicultural but when it comes to representation of people of an ethnic background amongst managers and in the boardroom, the numbers aren’t where they should be. That’s not fair and that’s a problem. We have been working hard to try to create pathways and schemes that will change how things look.
“The Coach Index which we created is a ready list of coaches from minority backgrounds that are available for clubs to signpost employment opportunities too.
"Collectively, clubs are buying into the changes being made and small but important steps are being made."
The Premier League Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Standard
Representatives from 75 football club community organisations assembled at Wolves’ Molineux Stadium to join discussions and workshops, and to share best practices with the goal of ensuring they are applied throughout their operations.
Leicester City Community Director Alli Tripney explains: “All Premier League clubs, and their community organisations or foundations, have to meet a Premier League equality, diversity and inclusion standard.
“This is an assessment tool applicable to every element of football operations from what your academy is doing to diversify talent and recruitment of talent, to matchday experiences for fans through to equality, diversity and inclusion considerations around delivery of work in the community.
“Each club has a named employee who leads on their inclusion strategy. It is part of the Premier League competition rules and a condition of the funding clubs receive to deliver programmes in their local areas.
“This is massively important as it gives accountability. Community organisations [like Leicester City in the Community] have an impact on so many other people that it’s important we take on that responsibility, and are able to measure what we’re doing and keep moving in that positive direction.”
Player to Coach Scheme
The Player to Coach Scheme is a joint programme from the Premier League, Football League and Professional Footballers Association designed to increase the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic players who transition into coaching and managerial roles.
The scheme has welcomed 46 participants over its first three years, with 36 of them currently in full-time employment at clubs.
One such participant is former Stoke City striker Ricardo Fuller who returned to The Potters last year as an academy coach overseeing age groups from under-9s straight through to under-21s.
Former Aston Villa forward Darren Byfield was part of the first contingent of ex-players to join the scheme, joining Northampton Town from the non-league, before moving to League Two Crawley Town, where he has become interim manager.