Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
Saints Explain Why They Have Not Signed Up To Diversity Code !
Tuesday, 27th Oct 2020 16:57

So far 42 Football Clubs have signed up the FA's Football Leadership Diversity Code, including 19 of the 20 Premier League clubs, but the missing name is that of Southampton FC, the club have issued a statement to explain why.

On Tuesday, the FA launched the 'Football Leadership Diversity Code' with the aim of ensuring more candidates from ethnic minorities can land top jobs.

So far, 42 clubs have signed up to the voluntary code from across the Premier League, English Football League, Women's Super League and Women's Championship, with Southampton the only top Premier League club in the men's game in England not to do so.

However Saints have taken the time to explain their decision and confirmed that although they remain fully committed to the objectives of a new diversity code, they have not yet had time to assess all of it's proposal's, but have said they will continue to work closely with the chairman of the FA's inclusion advisory board, Paul Elliott, on the topic.

The statement read.

"In 2020 Southampton FC achieved the Premier League’s Advanced Equality Standard at the first time of asking, the only club to have achieved this to date.

"This achievement was the culmination of a five year Equality and Diversity journey, which includes setting and monitoring recruitment targets amongst a number of other E&D initiatives forming our action plan.

"Southampton FC are wholly supportive of the Football Leadership Diversity code objectives. We are aware that the Premier League are revising their Equality Standard to bring the two closer together.

"At this time the club consider it most appropriate course of action to wait and understand how a revised Premier League Equality Standard and the Football Leadership Diversity Code will work together and complement each other before revising our recruitment targets and already established processes.

"We have had productive and encouraging discussions with Paul Elliott on this topic and will continue to work closely with him on this."

This is a perfectly reasonable response from the club, no one either an individual or organisation should give their backing to any initiative without having closely examined it first.

Likewise they should not be pressured to do so just because others already have, Saints were one of the first clubs in English football to have players of colour and of different nationality in their teams back in the 1970's, at a time when few English teams had any sort of diversity in their ranks.

We have also employed coaches from ethnic groups including Paul Williams who played 39 Premier League games for the club in 2001-2003 including being an unused sub in the 2003 FA Cup Final.

Williams worked in the Club's academy from 2009 - 2014 in various coaching roles.

Likewise Radhi Jaidi, who joined the club as a player in August 2009 at the start of the Markus Liebherr era, after retiring in 2012 from playing he worked in various roles within the club's academy and was Head Coach of the U23 side until last year when he joined American side Hartford Athletic as their coach in a deal that involved a development programme between the two clubs.

In this day and age there is pressure to tow the line to a worthy cause without looking at the full picture and it is pleasing that Saints do not just sign up to avoid hassle.

I am sure that in due time the club will put their name to the Diversity Code and back it, but there is clearly something that they need to be certain about in it first.

Photo: Action Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

TeamCortese added 08:20 - Oct 28
They can justify it as much as they want Nick but in light of recent events across the world, it is a pretty worrying sign that we're the only club not to have signed up to this.

This article is also arrogant to imply that the other 19 EPL clubs haven't done their due diligence. What exactly has the club got to lose signing up to this? In the BBC article it states:

"Football clubs will be required to meet a recruitment diversity target of 15% in new executive jobs and 25% in coaching roles under a code devised by the Football Association."

You cannot conflate the FA's Football Leadership Diversity Code with the Equal
Advanced Equality Standard. They're two different initiatives and to be quite frank the culture and diversity within any organisation should start top-down from the leadership.

Yes, our club's taking the initiative to complete the Advanced Equality Standard but using that as an excuse to push back on a Diversity Leadership initiative could actually send the wrong message and potentially undo the hard-work of gaining the status in the first place.

In hindsight, it would have made more sense to have formally accepted it anyway but earmarked that we'll need more time to integrate the Leadership initiative with the internal aspects of the club already in place from the Advanced Equality Standard.

In the US, they introduced the Rooney Rule for American Football about 15-20 years ago. This is similar to what the Leadership Diversity Code proposes but does not hold clubs to the same level of scrutiny.

Personally, I don't believe in these so-called affirmative action initiatives; however, at the same time, there is clearly a lack of diversity in leadership positions across the sport and this needs to be addressed for sure.

The simple reality is it can't be by chance that the majority (if not all) of the top coaching roles and board positions across English Football are held by white males on merit alone. I refuse to swallow such a sentiment and if you or anyone else in this forum believes that then you're a racist.

Football is a world sport and for one group of people (white males) that represent 10% of the world's population to have all the positions of power in the year 2020 is nothing short of disgusting.

Hopefully, our club's leadership will make their minds up quickly but I must admit I'm disappointed by their initial decision.

perazi added 08:54 - Oct 28
Well written piece by Team Cortese. Saints need to sign up quickly to avoid suspicion about their motive. A greater diversity of people in influential roles within the FA is a good idea. The days of Les Reed figures dominating board rooms and executive status need to be wound up.

SaintNick added 11:55 - Oct 28
Why do Saints need to sign up quickly ? we seem to be the only club that met the standards already.

So why do we need to actually try to justify our position, why as a business would we want to sign up to restrictive practices that tell us we have to hire a certain percentage of staff that meet diversity codes.

Surely every business should hire the best person to do the job, would you be happy that the next two appointments on the coaching staff will have to be ethnic minorities just purely to tick boxes?

Team Cortese to just blanket call anyone a racist because they don't agree with your views is discrimination in itself.

It is wrong that most of the top coaching roles are held by white people, but no one knows the true reason, many years ago it would have been racism, no one can really deny that, but these days things are different, Paul Ince is not managing a football team these days because he is black, it is because he was a poor manager at a variety of clubs including Blackburn in the Premier League.

I'm not disappointed by their decision, I am actually impressed that they stood up and said that although they supported the code there was some things they were not ready to sign up to.

They confirmed that they are in talks to be able to sign up, so where is the problem, nowhere for most who believe in free speech and truly oppose discrimination and racism, but this year has seen people shout and scream that unless you agree with them you are a racist, they try to enforce their opinions on people, as you are here.

i am firmly anti racist, I have campaigned about kicking racism out of football for at least the past 25 years and worked with various organisations on that, but I refuse to be a sheep and bleat when someone tells me I have to, that is every form of discrimination & bullying I have fought against my whole life.


SanMarco added 12:36 - Oct 28
I echo Cortese's excellent post. Can't see why we haven't signed up. Why not press for reform from within if there are aspects we are not happy with? I agree with Nick - in that I don't believe the club is being racist, but I just don't understand the purpose of the action. It is not about forcing opinions on people but about how these decisions are interpreted within the wider world. Let's be honest, there are racist Saints fans just as there are racist fans of all clubs (and I believe we have far less than many) and this decision may be interpreted by such fans in a certain way. I just don't understand what precisely the problem is with signing up and pressing our case if we think something is wrong.

Saidou added 13:04 - Oct 28
So we are suppose to sign a Document that says we must sign a certain number or % of people from certain groups even when they do not meet the standards we are looking for? Why should they be guaranteed positions? Why can't the compete like everyone else? Where is this world headed to?

ItchenNorth added 13:07 - Oct 28
A tick box exorcise.

SaintNick added 13:09 - Oct 28
San Marco, we dont need to sign up to press our points, by not signing up and keeping in discussion with them we are actually pressing our points home and pointing out areas that perhaps we are not happy with and need changing

woolstonsaint17 added 19:02 - Oct 28
Can I also ask why the club was not made aware of this until ten days before the announcement? This from the only club to have achieved the previous football standard connected to this matter.
To update something you have to research to know whether what you are going to improve on already in place structures.
first, do they already have standards in place for this issue?
The answer is yes and the only ones to achieve those standards out the 20 clubs is Southampton FC. As we know we were the only club to reach the set standards in 5 years as we know by the club saying that it has taken 5 years to work on these standard something nobody else has achieved and now under pressure 19 clubs sign up why?
For Southampton should they not have been approached to help develop these matters as they are the closest club to what this is trying to achieve by this action.
I am mixed race and love Southampton fc. I just want to put that in to give you a picture of who is writing.
Look at this last week the football league was in danger of being changed. Changed to the structure by joining to a Superleague to the premiership which will bring revenue with other asks.
They said for them to do this they will also give a package to help British football out for 250m. This was worked on privately by Manchester United and Liverpool both owned by Americans and Rick Parry chairman of the FA ( Which is not I may add a British institution although it is part of the nation's identity and this should be rectified I think)
The premiership to be to be reduced to 18 teams
The ability to limit the voting rights of the premier league to the traditional big six and the three other longest serving which includes us.
A cap on the wages of all teams in the championship to stop what they term reckless ambition.
What is going on is an attempt change the game and control it by the top six clubs.

You know Southampton FC should be involved in the progression of this just by the fact that they were theonly one to previously achieve what was asked by beforeby the FA.
Who did they ask the big six
Its one thing after another at the moment.
I will tell you something to I have just finished a University Level course produced by LCFC on the social history of football. It is made up through comments to discussion and pretty much the last Question asked was. Explain where you think association Football will be in ten years from now?
One question I asked was why Leicester City produce this at this moment?

woolstonsaint17 added 19:12 - Oct 28
One question I asked was why Leicester City produce this at this moment?

Sorry, can't find the edit. It should be TO THE PROPOSAL FOR


SanMarco added 22:28 - Oct 28
I understand your point Nick - and of course it is accurate. I just feel that it would be better to sign up unless there really is something in it that stops us and, on an admittedly sketchy look at it, I don't see that.

TeamCortese added 00:59 - Oct 29
Nick, first and foremost, I caveated that I don't believe in affirmative action policies by virtue of the fact that it comes across as tokenistic and brings about discussions whether people from the marginalised groups in question got into their positions on the basis of merit.

However, I still endorse this initiative because there hasn't been any noticeable change in the diversity of leadership roles in the EPL and FA over the past 25 years. This is wrong because it should reflect the audience of interest. Having positions of power to an exclusive group is by its very definition exclusionary.

As an example, if we look at Cricket we know the prominent groups interested in the sport are South Asians (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), Whites and to a lesser degree Black men from the Caribbeans. Let's suppose all these respective ethnic groups were represented in prominent leadership roles proportional to there populations there or thereabout then I wouldn't have any issue with that because they are the primary audience of the sport.

If then there was a complaint with there not being enough diversity with regards to Chinese, Africans from the continent and South Americans then I wouldn't take issue with it not being diverse because they are not the primary audience.

In the case of Football, by virtue of being a truly global sport, there are more people of different backgrounds to accommodate to and this should be reflected in all aspects of the game. The EPL in particular is the most widely followed league in the world and the leadership roles don't reflect its audience! It simply can't on the basis of merit that 90 odd per cent of those positions are held by white males.

This is a common recruitment issue called 'unconscious bias' and it's not necessarily malicious or racist. It can sometimes just be people are comfortable hiring people who share similar ideologies and values which leads to similar personalities in organisations and teams.

For goodness sake Nick if you truly believe in kicking out racism then that should also reflect in other areas of the game outside of fans making monkey chants.

I commend the FA for this. Like some, I'm sceptical as to whether it'll work but at least they are attempting something rather than doing nothing.

As I mentioned before the Leadership Diversity Code is a different initiative run by the FA whilst the Advanced Equality Standard is controlled by the Premier League. What doesn't make sense to me, and this is still yet to be answered, is:

What has the club got to lose signing up to this?

Furthermore, the other 19 EPL clubs may not have met the criteria for meeting the Advanced Equality Award but that doesn't mean they haven't attempted to do so previously and cannot attempt to meet it in conjunction with the FA's Leadership initiative anyway.

That's my main criticism. The club hasn't handled this correctly and could have easily signed up and worked in tandem refining the initiative with Paul Elliott anyway.

You need to login in order to post your comments

Blogs 31 bloggers

Letters from Wiltshire #16 by wessex_exile

Southampton Polls

About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© FansNetwork 2020