The Government’s Islamophobia & Antisemitism advisors welcome English football’s new equality code

The initiative led by Paul Elliot, a long-standing leader in the fight for proper representation of Black  and Asian footballers at every level of the game, has been greatly inspired by the Black Lives Matters  movement. 

It also sadly received significant impetus from the experience of Black and Asian footballers in the  last few seasons, with an extraordinary upsurge in direct racist abuse of players. 

We wholeheartedly welcome and endorse this initiative and its detailed proposals. 

It looks to us to be both achievable and significant in the reach it will have throughout professional  football. We will be writing to the England and Wales Cricket Board to propose that a similar  initiative is both necessary and achievable in English cricket. We hope they will respond positively. 

The football taskforce will now continue its work into the recommendations and an action plan for  grassroots football and we have offered to help that process, with the numbers of Jewish and Asian  players significantly higher than in the professional game. It will be essential that their unique  perspectives are fully incorporated into the work and we are confident about the willingness of the  taskforce to open itself out to allow this. 

Football as an industry, as an employer, but far more importantly, as our most popular national  sport can only benefit in opening itself up to the lost talents of those whose brilliance has been  ignored or cast aside. We believe it to be vital to our national wellbeing, as well as to the continued  commercial success of football, that it truly acts as an equal opportunities employer and harnesses  the skills of all.  

Football also has a wide reach across the country and indeed across the world. Those clubs who  have led the way in signing up to this charter deserve to be successful and are more likely to be, by  using the talents of everybody. As they succeed in diversifying their operations, they will rightly be  seen as redefining the concept of leadership in football. The supporters and employees of the clubs  involved, will wear their club’s colours and kiss the badge of their shirt with a particular pride today  following this important step forward. 

Imam Qari Asim MBE is the Government Advisor on the Definition of Islamophobia  & Senior Editor of ImamsOnline.

Lord John Mann is the HM Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism

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