“At Kick It Out, we serve under-represented and minority communities in football, supporting them in every area of the game – from grassroots to the Premier League, from the pitch to the side lines and from the stands to the boardroom. We do everything in our power to eliminate discrimination, educate communities, and inspire a new generation of people in the sport. Football should be a game for everyone, whether they play it, work it in it or support it.
Our core strategy components are as follows:
Mission: to eliminate discrimination in football and create a game where everyone feels that they belong
Vision: to bring football together and be recognised as a hub for inclusive and positive change in football, from the professional to the grassroots game
People: we serve under-represented and minority groups in football
Partnerships: attract and retain long-term funding partners who share our vision and values
Programmes: build sustainable programmes which are scalable by design, with a focus on advocacy and reporting, guidance and education, and talent
Data and Technology: lead the football industry on transparency reporting and data-driven policy
Our programme delivery will now fall under three key pillars:
Advocacy and reporting
We will be an advocate for change. We will campaign around key issues such as Online Hate, the setting of diversity targets in coaching and senior leadership (for example, under the Football Leadership Diversity Code) and action-oriented campaigns to turn bystanders into activists (for example, via our Take A Stand campaign). We will also significantly expand our transparency reporting to dig below the surface of discrimination reporting, to the root cause analysis and hold football to account on its promises to increase representation.
We also want to improve the low levels of confidence in reporting of discrimination incidents in grassroots football. We aim to do this through creating greater transparency of complaints handling processes and potentially seek to improve evidence gathering processes.
Guidance and Education
We want to create understanding. We already offer a range of education programmes: from training academy members from ages nine upwards and parents; through to supporting clubs on their inclusion best practices; and providing rehabilitative education for fans guilty of discriminatory conduct. We are looking to improve and expand these programmes.
We want to inspire opportunity. Our Raise Your Game programme focused on entrants to the industry has been running successfully for nearly a decade. The pandemic means that physical events are not currently possible so we have taken advantage of the pause to bring together key football stakeholders, to reimagine a set of connected programmes across the entire career lifecycle. Our aim is to support under-represented or minority communities and transform the way that they get in and progress in the football industry, with a range of cross-football programmes from entering the industry all the way to the boardroom.
How we will create change
We will build more partnerships and deliver programmes that are scalable by design. To create scalability, we will be data driven and technology enabled as we seek to lead the football industry in transparency reporting around discrimination and inclusion issues.
To enable this strategy, we have also made some governance changes. We have changed our constitutional documents to remove some preferred member rights to better attract third party funders, such as Sky. Conversations with other funders are ongoing.
We will create a number of Advisory Boards to support the evolution of our strategic priorities. In future, we intend to create a Fans Parliament and a Grassroots Forum. This season, our focus is on creating a Players Advisory Board, which is to be chaired by Troy Townsend.
We will also create a series of Working Groups around specific issues. We have already created an Online Hate Working Group which includes key football stakeholders, plus Facebook and Twitter. With our new Ambassador Lord Mann, we will be creating an Antisemitism Working Group. Other Working Groups are in development, in particular a South Asian Action Group to address the massive statistical anomaly of under-representation of South Asians in football, particularly on the pitch.
Sanjay Bhandari, Kick It Out Chair, says: “There is much to be done, but we face the future excited about what we can achieve together with our partners in football. The movements created after the death of George Floyd have created reflection and generated initial momentum for a wave of change across many industries, including football. Our job is to build on that momentum and help create sustainable change over the coming years.
Football has a unique ability to bring people together and create cohesion. We enter a new phase of our story with a refreshed team, and we are excited about the change we want to deliver in a divided society – we need to capture that spirit and make football a beacon of change. Football belongs to everyone.”
Originally published on Kick It Out.