Further to Tuesday’s announcement of the resignation of FA Chairman Greg Clarke, the Northamptonshire FA have responded to some of the issues raised, in relation to inclusivity with football in the County.
For many years, the NFA have been dedicated to providing opportunities for every player, regardless of ethnicity, gender, disability, religion or sexual orientation. We have also established our own Inclusion Advisory Group which consists of members drawn from a wide range of local communities.
Northamptonshire Football Association’s CEO, Sarah Bentley said, “The NFA are committed to delivering football for all. We consult regularly with the county’s Inclusion Advisory Group with regard to issues facing the sport both nationally and locally and continuously support the work of all those who campaign for inclusion and equality. We are very proud of the work we have done in protecting the interests of everyone who wishes to be involved in our national game. We are ahead of National targets in terms of disabled players, women and girls players, coaches and referees and BAME Coaches and have worked alongside the IAG to deliver events such as last years ‘Remembering Srebrenica’ match involving a number of teams from different local communities.”
The County Association’s work includes the development of opportunities for people with learning and physical disabilities, a pro-active and consistent approach to the women and girls game, full support of the numerous campaigns to provide equal opportunities for members of BAME communities and swift action to eradicate all forms of racism and sexism from the sport in Northamptonshire. Although we are proud of our achievements in these areas, we recognise there is lots of work still to do to ensure that football is open and accessible to everyone and fully embraces diversity.
Raff Miah, Chair of the IAG commented, “The purpose of the IAG is to ensure that the voices of all sections of our community are clearly heard and considered by the NFA and that they govern and develop the game in an equitable way. Our aims are aligned with those of the FA both locally and nationally to provide equality and inclusion through football. It is a game that brings communities together and unites. We should never lose sight of its importance in celebrating diversity and we look forward to a positive future, working positively with Sarah and her team at the NFA”.
Tony Major, Chair of Northamptonshire FA said “Ensuring we continue to provide a truly inclusive football environment is a key priority for the NFA. And in addition to the great work carried out by our volunteers and staff, it’s ever more vital that our adoption of the FA Code of Governance continues to progress at pace. Compliance with this ‘gold standard’ for sporting governance will mean that our Board is also diverse, inclusive and representative of the football community we serve; and in turn makes decisions that are based in the best interest of that community as a whole”.