Equality and diversity across the nation’s number one sport

The Football Association

At the time of writing this, the England women’s team had just beaten Norway to reach the semi-final of the world cup in France.

I’m an avid believer that football can really inspire a generation.

You only have to see the impact the England Lionesses have had on the nation as an example of that.

As a youngster I was football mad having played for my junior school, secondary school, Sunday league team and hoping to make it into an academy squad to eventually become a professional.

This is every young players dream! In reality, the odds of success can be low and when that didn’t happen for me I fell out of love with playing football and followed a traditional route into business like everyone in my family before me!

I remained a Wolves fan however (and what a season we have had!). My background consists of 14+ years working in a global management consultancy environment working with clients around the world on transformation programmes with focus on the ‘people and change’ agenda.

This involved advising C-suite clients on the management of change, technology transformation, organisation design and culture change (people are an organisations biggest asset, not technology or processes!).

My passion for football was re-ignited in full when I joined The Football Association in 2018 as Head of Strategic Programmes within the England Teams division.

It was a tremendous privilege given that our senior team under Gareth Southgate were about to head out to Russia for the World Cup eventually finishing fourth which was the best result since 1966!

I later became Head of Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Programmes and I now manage our national equality, diversity and inclusion strategy known as ‘In Pursuit of Progress’.

Today, The FA is the governing body of a national community that includes 11 million football participants, 30 million spectators and 90,000 grassroots teams. Collectively, football has the power to inspire future generations.

Today, I am challenging the status quo in sport and football.

I oversee our D&I programmes across grassroots football, our 28 national teams, equality campaigns and assist with The FA’s internal culture and targets to become a more diverse organisation.

Some of this work includes: • Developing and launching The FA’s national Asian inclusion strategy designed to engage the pan-Asian population to engage with and work in football. Asian representation in professional football is vastly low despite Asian communities making up 8% of the population.

• Developing specific interventions to address the lack of diversity in the administration and elite coaching of the game which is in contrast with the diversity of the players on the pitch.

I am obsessive in the cause to ensure football is a game FOR ALL and using sport as a force for good by playing my part in the ‘beautiful game’.

To learn more about diversity and inclusion at The FA, please visit www.TheFA.com. To learn more about The FA’s Asian Inclusion Plan, see www.thefa.com/asianinclusion

You can also contact me via the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce where I am an Executive Committee member for any collaboration opportunities.