Kompany Pic

Diversity and inclusion at the heart of statutory reforms

17 February 2021
FIFPRO has taken the first of a series of important steps towards a more progressive vision for the football industry by adopting new statutory commitments.

These will be supported by internal and external reforms and actions that lead FIFPRO towards a greater culture of diversity and inclusivity.

As part of the new ratified statutes there will be mandatory increases in geographic and gender representation on FIFPRO’s global board. This will take effect following the next elections in November. The board will increase in size as well as in diversity, making space for new voices and instituting a mandatory minimum threshold of 33 percent for the least-represented gender. As the global player representative body, FIFPRO recognises its role to lead the industry in demonstrating that diversity is not an end goal in itself, but an essential element in high-performing and effective governance.

“We must consistently and honestly reflect on not only our role in the industry but the example we are showing our players,” FIFPRO General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said. “We know that the players want this, we have heard them speak and witnessed the bravery of their activism. Change needs to be clear, it needs to be now, and it needs to be concrete.”

Making the FIFPRO board more diverse and inclusive reflects the ongoing work of unions supporting players, whatever their gender or ethnicity, FIFPRO President Philippe Piat said. “I am proud of these changes, which are founded in the values that we have always carried and defended.”

“Dismantling the barriers that allows inequality to pervade requires strong institutional commitment”

— by Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, FIFPRO General Secretary

Alongside the statutory commitments, there is an agenda of supporting actions. The creation of a diversity, equality, and inclusion committee will help the board and management in decision-making, providing a space for learning, accountability, creativity, and expert voices to be heard at the heart of the organisation. Mentoring and leadership programmes will ensure the pathway to a role in governance is clear, open and provides for the nurturing of potential leaders from diverse backgrounds.

A multi-year commitment to contribute towards research into race and inclusion in the football industry has been established, as well as cultural competency education. Internally, FIFPRO has already undertaken an evaluation and recalibration of its protocols and process with regards to diversity and human resources, and will roll these out to support member unions as they look to develop or expand their own diversity, equality and inclusion strategies.

Baer-Hoffmann said, “The ways in which discrimination manifests itself in the football industry is wide-ranging, overt, discreet, systemic and structural. Dismantling the barriers that allows inequality to pervade requires strong institutional commitment, tangible actions, and genuine and authentic desire to rise above the performative.

“FIFPRO is sharing our vision for the future of our organisation to not only inform, but to hold ourselves accountable to our statements and be transparent about the journey we are on. Only through honest self-reflection is it possible to even begin to take such steps, and we invite others in the industry to join us in our commitments as we drive towards a vision that meets the potential of football to be a leader not only in sport but in society.”

Picture: FIFPRO Global Player Council members Vincent Kompany, Anita Asante and Gabriela Garton speak at a summit in Brussels in January 2020.

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