Football Leadership Diversity Code - 2022/23 update

22 Nov 2023
AFC Bournemouth v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Data from The FA's report shows Premier League is exceeding targets in diversity of hiring over the course of last season

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The FA’s Football Leadership Diversity Code (FLDC) report for the 2022/23 season published today has shown that the Premier League’s workforce diversity hiring rates exceeded the targets set by the Code.

The Premier League and all 20 clubs support the Code, which launched in October 2020 and complements the existing work being carried out to increase diversity within the workforce and tackle inequality. 

The Premier League’s FLDC targets for the 2022/23 season included 15 per cent of new hires in senior leadership positions to be Black, Asian or of Mixed Heritage.

Data reported shows a figure of 50 per cent was reached. The target for female new hires in senior leadership positions was 30 per cent and 50 per cent was achieved.    

In team operations, 23 per cent of new hires were Black, Asian or of Mixed Heritage, exceeding the 15 per cent target, while 50 per cent of new hires were female, higher than the target of 30 per cent. 

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “As an organisation, we are pleased to have met the Code’s targets, but we recognise there is still more to do to improve representation across all levels and areas of the game. 

“The Premier League has established programmes and policies in place to help promote equal opportunity and improve access to career pathways.

"We are committed to creating a workforce that reflects the diversity of our industry and communities, and this will remain a priority for us. We will continue to support our clubs to build on existing work, evolve reporting practices and drive positive change.” 

To help increase progress, The FA, with support from the Premier League, plan to make it mandatory for all professional clubs in the English leagues to report data on age, sex, gender, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation within their organisations.

There will now be a consultation period prior to the new rule being introduced ahead of the 2024/25 season.

In addition to the FLDC, the Premier League has set out its own commitments and targets to promote equality, diversity and inclusion and increase opportunities across the game.  

These were launched in 2021 within the No Room For Racism Action Plan. This includes work to tackle discrimination, pathway support for players and coaches, as well as diversity targets for the League’s own workforce. A two-year update on progress was published in February.

More broadly, the Premier League continues to promote equality, diversity and inclusion across all areas of its operations and supports clubs to do the same.

The FLDC is integrated into the existing mandatory Premier League Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Standard, which requires every club to achieve and report progress against agreed targets.  

Clubs are independently assessed against this framework. The Standard ensures every Premier League club reports on and achieves progress against workforce diversity targets, while supporting clubs to develop their culture and bring about long-term behavioural change.

Supporting a more diverse coaching workforce 

To help create a more diverse professional coaching workforce, the League is working with partners across football to deliver programmes for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to increase career opportunities and pathways. These programmes are creating employment opportunities across the game. 

Programmes include the Professional Player to Coach Scheme and the Coach Inclusion and Diversity Scheme.

See: How Coach Scheme helps Fuller inspire Stoke's young stars

Supporting executive pathways 

In 2022, the Premier League launched the Player to Executive Pathways Scheme (PEPS) and the Premier League Futures programme, demonstrating a commitment to helping create a more diverse professional workforce across the game. 

PEPS is a pilot programme that launched in November 2022, with seven former players following a tailored programme and placement to gain experience of club operations. 

Premier League Futures is a 12-month course which supports a group of current or former Academy players, aged between 18 and 24 and from a diverse background, with management and leadership skills to help prepare them for future executive roles within the game. 

The second cohort started on the scheme earlier this year.  

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