2020-10-27 20:06:08 | Eni Aluko hails FA’s new diversity code as ‘intentional step towards change’


Story by: Fiona Tomas The Telegraph

Eni Aluko, Aston Villa women’s director of football, has praised the Football Association’s new diversity code as an “intentional step towards change” which she hopes will be a springboard for women aspiring to work in men’s football.

The code aims to tackle racial imbalance and provide more opportunities for women in coaching and senior leadership roles.

Under the code, women must account for a third of new hires for leadership positions at clubs, while professional female clubs must pledge to make half of all new coaching recruits women, with 15 per cent of those being of black, Asian or of mixed heritage.

“It’s another intentional step towards change and towards an issue that needs addressing,” Aluko told The Daily Telegraph.

“Nobody’s saying anybody should get a job because of the colour of their skin, [or] because they’re a woman. What we’re saying is, there’s some incredible people of colour. There’s some incredible women who, if given the opportunity, can show they’re incredible, but they need the opportunity.

“If we start this now, we will ­naturally get to a point in 10 or 15 years’ time – hopefully even sooner – where we are seeing a more diverse range of people in leadership positions, because they’re good at what they do. But you have to have an intentional push towards it.”

In the code, there is no stipulation for women to be involved in the recruitment process for coaching roles at top men’s clubs.

While a woman is yet to take charge of a club in the English ­Football League, the landscape across some European countries is changing. In June, Renate Blindheim became the first woman to take charge of a professional men’s team in Norway, Sotra, in the country’s second division. Women in France, Germany and Portugal have also managed men’s clubs in recent years.

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Prior to being appointed the ­Scotland women’s manager in 2017, Shelley Kerr coached the men’s team at Stirling University, demonstrating there is now a route into the male game.

Emma Hayes, the Chelsea women’s manager who was linked to the men’s job at Stamford Bridge when Maurizio Sarri departed the club in June last year, has said it would be a “matter of time before there is a female coach in the men’s game”.

“With women’s teams, there is an assumption that it should always be lots of women,” Aluko added.

“We need more women in men’s football and we need maybe more men in women’s football. The ­equilibrium is really important to just build really good teams that are full of men and women.

“Other countries are just much better at just taking those risks – and I hate to call it risk – but I guess it’s seen as that. I think that’s where we need to get to, and I think that’s where the men’s game needs to get to, where we give women an opportunity.”

Reacting to the FA’s diversity code, Stephanie Hilborne, the chief executive of the charity Women in Sport, welcomed the new gender and racial female hiring targets and hoped that “targets for recruitment of women into the men’s ­professional clubs will follow shortly”.


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Source References: The Telegraph

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