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Taylor calls for more diversity at the FA

Gordon Taylor OBE

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor OBE has criticised the Football Association for continuing to ignore a lack of diversity amongst their council members.

The PFA were proud to be the main sponsor of the Effective Board Member, On The Board programme which trains former players for boardroom roles. The course was established to tackle the lack of diversity at boardroom level.

Course graduates — which have included Les Ferdinand, Chris Ramsey and Chris Hughton — take part in seminars and lectures over a six-month period, led by Karl George who is a leading consultant in governance.

It is proving hugely successful with Ferdinand, who took the pilot course in 2013, now director of football at Queens Park Rangers.

FA chairman Greg Dyke criticised his organisation’s 121 council members for being ‘overwhelmingly male, overwhelmingly white’ a year into his leadership, and Taylor has reiterated that the governing body need to change their approach.

Speaking at the On the Board event at Wembley, Taylor said: “The FA can’t continue to ignore what is out there, if they are not prepared to adapt to the present and future, the empire will fall.

“Those who are in there don’t want to open the door to have any fresh water coming in. It will only change if we keep banging on the door.

“This course is showing people are prepared to learn the ins and outs of governance, giving the time and commitment to regular sessions at St George’s Park. I would suggest they would all make excellent board members. We’ve had more than 40 attendees alone from the PFA.”

Taylor added: “The PFA has been in existence for over 100 years and has always been a pioneer for a change within the game.

“However, the PFA along with the LMA, Football Supporters' Federation and PGMOL are not included on the FA’s Executive Board, which speaks volumes.

“It is self-evident that these bodies are key stakeholders of the game and are fundamental to its success.’

The most recent cohort, who graduated at a Wembley do on Wednesday evening, included Jason Euell, Noel Blake and Briane Deane.

“We all know about the lack of black and minority ethnic (BME) groups involved in the game at that level,” Euell said.

“It’s trying to educate people of minority of ways of getting on to a board. This was set up through the PFA seeing that lack of balance and inequality — which includes women — at boardroom level.”

Blake, former England Under 19 coach, said: “It looks at diversity in general from a BME and gender-perspective. There is also a lack of women on boards up and down the country.

“To put yourself up for something you have to have the qualifications to do it. If you’re not qualified, you can’t sit on boards. I felt it was an important thing to do.”