The Football Association (FA) will begin the process of reviewing the composition of its board over the next nine months, the chair of the inclusion advisory board, Paul Elliott has confirmed.
English football’s governing body has come under much scrutiny for its lack of diversity amongst its board members, sparking a welcomed review by many to delve deeper into the problems and how they can be resolved.
On July 28 of this year, chairman of the FA Greg Clark claimed that representatives of the professional game from the Premier League and EFL had prevented a review from happening sooner, however, Clarke retracted that statement later on the same day.
During Clarke’s second statement, he said: "I recognise now that the views held by the members of the board were not as they first appeared, and that all parties do support a review of FA board diversity."
Since then, Elliott has started the process of laying the groundwork for the review to take place.
“Over the next nine months, a detailed board review will be undertaken and once an outline and proposal has been agreed by the board, this will go through the relevant formal approval processes,” he started. "I am delighted that these discussions are under way."
According to reports, the FA are confident that Elliott will be given a director’s position within the board as well as freeing up two positions that could be filled by diverse candidates, after independent candidates voiced their willingness to step down from their positions.
"As there are several ways to further diversify the board, different options must also be considered before an approval process begins," Elliott continued.
"This is why it's more complex than simply adding another seat to the table. The process of altering the composition of boards is by no means unique to the FA and, naturally, it takes time and would need to be finalised in accordance with the constitution."
Elsewhere, Elliott’s attention has been focused on a Football Leadership Diversity Code, which is aimed to be completed by October, in time for Black History Month.
Although the code is yet to be fully agreed by those involved, its purpose is to see clubs and bodies pledge to improve diversity amongst its ranks.
Elliott said: "The code is something that we want, and need, to see embedded across all 92 professional clubs in the men's game, clubs across the Barclays FA Women's Super League and FA Women's Championship, as well as those throughout the National League system."
"Many clubs are already doing great work in this space, but it's now time to take the next step. We are also working on a version of the code for the game at grassroots level, which we hope to launch in March 2021."
The reforms of the FA board in 2017, which at the time were deemed as sufficient adjustments, led to BAME representation reaching 10 per cent, LGBTQ+ representation at 10 per cent and 40 per cent representation from women.
Author: Jake Wilkin