The membership of The FA’s new Inclusion Advisory Board (IAB) has been confirmed ahead of its first meeting in January 2014.
Chaired by FA Board member Heather Rabbatts, the group is 10-strong and reflects all areas of football’s diverse nature.
The formation of the group is part of The FA’s commitment to its Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Action Plan.
Heather Rabbatts said: “This group is vital for meeting the future aims and ambitions of a modern FA. We believe that we have a breadth of representation, skills and experiences that will give direction and guidance for the game.”
The group includes:
- Heather Rabbatts, Chair of The IAB
- Michael Johnson
- Shelley Alexander
- Graeme Le Saux
- Joyce Cook, OBE
- Rishi Jain
- Edward Lord, OBE, JP
- Rimla Akhtar
- Peter Clayton
- Thura Win, JP
The IAB will provide guidance on all equality matters and will monitor the delivery of Football’s Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Action Plan for 2013-2017. The Action Plan aims to:
- Widen football’s talent by tackling under-representation and so increase the diversity of football’s talent pool
- Clarify anti-discrimination regulations and sanctions, to create clarity and understanding around the regulations and sanctions related to discriminatory behaviour
- Instil confidence in reporting discrimination and to generate confidence in the reporting and subsequent handling of discrimination cases and be transparent with the outcomes
- Increase knowledge, awareness and understanding of equality and inclusion – and what constitutes discriminatory behaviour within football, providing information, guidance and training
- Heather Rabbatts is one of two Independent Non-Executive Directors on The FA Board and has been an active campaigner for equality and in particular race and gender equality.
Michael Johnson was capped for Jamaica 12 times in a professional career that saw him play in the Premier League. A UEFA Pro-Licence holder Michael is active in the area of race equality.
Working in women’s sport Shelley Alexander is a co-founder of Women in Football, which seeks to support females working in the football industry. She also represents the BBC at the ALL Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Sport.
Former England defender Graeme Le Saux, capped 36 times for England played for Chelsea, Blackburn and Southampton. A Chelsea, UEFA and Football Foundation ambassador, Graeme is a staunch supporter of all aspects of the football inclusion and equality agenda and has recently been appointed as an independent member of the Football Regulatory Authority. Having been subjected to homophobic abuse whilst he was playing, Graeme has actively spoken out on anti-homophobia and transphobia.
Joyce Cook OBE is the Founding Managing Director of the Centre for access to Football in Europe (CAFE) and Chair of Level Playing Field (LPF). She is well respected in the field of disability equality and the wider equality agenda as a director at Women in Football and a board member at FARE. Joyce has been named as one of the top 100 most influential disabled people in the UK.
Rishi Jain previously worked for Liverpool FC as Equality and Inclusion Advisor and gained a great deal of experience at community and club level, in all areas of equality and specialises in the area of race equality. He is now the Kick It Out Football League Clubs Development Officer.
Edward Lord OBE is the Chair of the London FA Inclusion Advisory Group and his personal passion is promoting LGB&T equality, having served as a board member of the Pride Trust, BiUK, and the Albert Kennedy Trust and as a Stonewall Role Model. Edward has significant leadership experience within public and voluntary sector organisations.
Rimla Akhtar has Chaired the Muslim Women Sports Foundation since 2005 and was part of the British Muslim Women’s Futsal Team for the International Women’s Islamic Game in 2001 and 2005. With 13 years experience as an independent consultant specialising in gender, race and faith equality, Rimla was recognised for her contributions and achievements in 2012, when she was awarded the Asian Women in Football Award at the Asian Football Awards.
Peter Clayton is an FA Council Member and the CEO of Middlesex FA. Peter Chaired the inaugural Asians in Football Group, The FA Race Equality Advisory Group and The FA’s Tackling Homophobia Working Group.
Thura Win is also an FA Council Member who is passionate and committed to fairness, equality and justice. Thura is the Chairman of The FA’s Safeguarding Review Panel and Women’s Football Conference amongst other roles.
Within the IAB membership there is practical experience of the mental health agenda, at both professional and grassroots levels.
This will assist The FA and football with its plans to educate and address stigma in relation to mental well being, promote inclusion programmes and to signpost participants to services and interventions to support them.