Soccer

Vincent Kompany feels increasing diversity at boardroom level the key to change

Vincent Kompany believes change must start in the boardroom if English football is to become more diverse (Steven Paston/PA)
Vincent Kompany believes change must start in the boardroom if English football is to become more diverse (Steven Paston/PA) Vincent Kompany believes change must start in the boardroom if English football is to become more diverse (Steven Paston/PA)

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany believes increasing diversity at boardroom level is the key to unlocking change at every other level of football.

Last week the Football Association released figures showing the football clubs who had voluntarily pledged to improve their ethnic and gender diversity through the Football Leadership Diversity Code had collectively failed to hit any of their annual targets.

Fifty-three clubs have signed up to the FLDC, which is in its third year and which sets voluntary targets in four areas of recruitment – senior leadership roles, team operations, coaching in the men’s game and coaching in the women’s game.

But figures for the last 12 months show clubs failing to achieve success in any category.

Senior leadership hiring of black, Asian and mixed heritage candidates is set at 15 per cent, but clubs only achieved 9.1 per cent. In men’s clubs, the target for new coaching hires from a black, Asian or mixed heritage background was 25 per cent but clubs only managed 16 per cent.

Asked what he thought could be done to improve those figures, Kompany said change must come from the top.

“You’d like to think over time this is going to evolve,” the 37-year-old said. “I’ve always made the point clearly and I think in this day and age it’s even more important – what is the diversity in a boardroom, the levers of power?

“The coaching, you give the job to the best people but I think the diversity, where it’s really needed is where the power is, that’s what affects everything we’re doing.

“If you have a boardroom that’s diverse, you can’t brush things under the carpet. These things will get solved.”

The latest figures show that within the 53 club signatories, 21 per cent of senior leaders and 29 per cent of team operations are female and seven per cent of senior leaders and nine per cent of team operations are black, Asian or mixed heritage.

Across the coaching workforce, 13 per cent of coaches and 11 per cent of senior coaches are black, Asian or mixed heritage.

“If you have 15 (job) applications and management and the board have got opinions from different walks of life, you can’t just brush it under the carpet, it goes through everything…” Kompany added.

“Today you have to choose between black and white, pro this or against this, but I think once you have a little bit of diversity you get much closer to the truth. The reality is, yes there isn’t enough but the truth is that’s only what we see. What’s behind it is more important to bring balance.

“When it’s balanced it’s going to be more fair and when it’s more fair it will take a little bit of pressure away from the whole debate I think.”