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PFA duo awarded at Football Black List celebration

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PFA Head of Equalities Simone Pound and Head of Player Welfare Michael Bennett were presented with awards for their work in football at the Football Black List celebration last night.

Footballers, managers, senior administrators and those working in the community came together at the celebration evening to pay tribute to Ugo Ehiogu.

This unique gathering celebrates the contributions of people from African and Caribbean backgrounds - a group that is under represented away from the pitch.

Earlier this year the Football Black List presented Ugo Ehiogu with a One to Watch award - it was his last public appearance before tragically passing away just a few weeks later. To pay special tribute to the former Aston Villa and England defender, the One to Watch category has been named after him. His family were present on the night to hand out the awards.

While more than 25% of professional players in the UK are black, there are just four managers across the 92 clubs, and no chairpersons or CEOs. The worrying lack of representation is common in all areas of the sport. To help address this the Football Black List shines a light on those who are inspiring the next generation to consider other roles in the game.

Award categories include coaching and management, administration, media, commercial, community and practitioners. Jermain Defoe, Alex Scott, Yaya Toure, Nick Blackman and Joe Thompson were among the players to receive awards.

There were also special awards – named in honour of the late Keith Alexander – given to outstanding individuals for their work in football. The recipients were pioneering former West From striker, Cyrille Regis, England legend, Rachel Yankey OBE and Chelsea's first black player, Paul Canoville.

Leon Mann, co-founder of the Football Black List, said:

“Ugo is sorely missed by so many and we felt it was appropriate to name an award category after him to ensure that he remains with us at every Football Black List celebration.

 “We all want to see more diversity across all areas of the game - to be more representative of society and the game we all love. The Football Black List can play a role in helping the industry achieve this.”