PFA Sponsored Programme Improving Diversity on Boards in Football Enters Fourth Year

Footballers from the third cohort of the ‘On The Board’ Effective Board Member programme graduated at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday 4th May 2016. The ceremony, attended by graduates and officials from the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), The Football Association (FA) and the League Managers Association (LMA) including Gordon Taylor OBE Chief Executive at the PFA.


‘On The Board’, was created by international governance consultant Karl George MBE, founder of the Effective Board Member Programmes (EBM) in conjunction with Sports On Board and is sponsored by the PFA and The FA to help players and others involved in football to progress from the pitch to the boardroom. Previous graduates include Les Ferdinand MBE and Chris Ramsey, Chris Hughton, Jason Roberts, Ken Monkou and Johnny Ertl.


The evening featured a panel posing pertinent questions about what can be done to improve representation from BAME groups and women on boards within the sport. According to the Sports People’s Think Tank there are only 19 ethnic minority coaches being employed in 552 positions across 92 professional clubs which represents just 3.4% of the roles available, it is clear that programmes such as On The Board are in prime position improve the scope of this picture in the future.


The graduation of players throws a spotlight on the continued commitment of the PFA and The FA to tackle the lack of diversity on boards within the sport. When he attended the event last year, Greg Dyke, Chairman of The FA stated that; ‘… where BAME players are successful in attaining board places in the game, it will help to widen the diversity of the decision makers in football.”


With several graduates having already secured board appointments as a result of them completing the programme, it is clear that On The Board is a successful initiative. A third of the total number of graduates have also undertaken board observations at organisations in a number of sectors including Wembley Stadium, the Home of English Football. The programme is accredited by the Association of Corporate Governance Practitioners, Open College Network West Midlands and Edinburgh Napier University making it a valuable addition to any CV and vital for those leaving their career on the pitch behind.


When talking of their support of the programme, Chief Executive of the PFA Gordon Taylor OBE stated; “Presently, the dugouts and sidelines of football do not represent the diversity on the pitch. Supporting our players to become competent and effective board members, coaches and managers and educating them about governance, ethics and decision-making will ensure the longevity of our reputation as one of the best footballing nations and player’s unions.”


On The Board is now recruiting for it’s next cohort.


For more information about joining the Effective Board Member Programmes, please contact us on 0845 505 1875 or email us at

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