The Football Association have been told to send “a clear message that they are anti-racist, not simply inclusive” by a leading ethnic diversity body.
The Race Representation Index (RRI) ranks national governing bodies on their diversity at board level, senior leadership team, coaching and playing population.
Of the 64 bodies approached, 55 responded to the survey but the FA, by far the biggest sporting organisation, said they “opted not to take part” because they already publish ethnicity and gender data.
i also understands that data on the football playing population is owned by the clubs, and therefore could not have been disclosed by the FA.
Governing bodies for tennis, rugby union, tennis, cricket and golf all took part but football, the country’s national game, did not.
“We are pleased that the FA continues to support our work and show a commitment to improving racial diversity. Our disappointment is in the lack of The FA’s level of engagement with our Race Representation Index (RRI) for the last couple of years,” a Sporting Equals spokesperson told i.
“The RRI was developed in consultation with ethnically diverse communities and in collaboration with the Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel that includes Maggie Alphonsi MBE, Chris Ramsay MBE, Devon Malcolm MBE, Densign White OBE and Kadeena Cox MBE amongst others.
“The RRI focuses on publicly funded sports governing bodies and how they are faring in terms of representation of ethnically diverse communities year on year in key decision making roles as we believe these roles are responsible for inclusion
“We have seen nearly 90 per cent of national governing bodies take part in our 2022 survey which shows the confidence and relevancy of the RRI. The fact the Rugby Football Union, Lawn Tennis Association and England and Wales Cricket Board amongst others have engaged in it is an endorsement of the value it creates for sport.
“The reason given for declining to take part centred on The FA conducting its own work in this area via the Diversity Leadership Code. We need to see a clear message from the FA that they are anti-racist, not simply inclusive.
“Ultimately communities have a right to know who are the decision makers and senior leaders, this is where our work offers significant value.”
The FA’s own data showed that in football as a collective, including the amateur and the professional game, missed six of its eight targets on recruitment, which included senior leadership, team operations and coaching in the men’s and women’s game.
An FA spokesperson told i: “The FA supports the objectives of the Race Representation Index and believes transparency is key to achieving positive change.
“We have published ethnicity and gender data for our general workforce, leadership team and the national coaching population each year since 2018, with targets and progress outlined within our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, A Game For All.
“We also launched the Football Leadership Diversity Code in 2020, which measures recruitment across The FA, other footballing stakeholders including the Premier League and EFL, and club signatories.
“This aims to ensure that the diversity we currently see on the pitch is reflected off the pitch, with an initial focus on gender and ethnic diversity, and progress reported annually. As we are already providing clarity and transparency about our work in this area, we opted to not additionally take part in this survey.”