Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Award
Aston Villa FC
After a key moment in women’s sport in summer 2022, Aston Villa Football Club wanted to continue the positive conversation that had started breaking down barriers to support and participation in women’s football.
Having conducted an extensive piece of research with local young people, it was clear that negative perceptions still exist – with accessibility to ‘safe spaces’ and visibility of other women in sport being key challenges to growing the game.
To tackle these, the club created the #BeTheInspiration campaign – highlighting the unconscious bias that still exists but also the positivity of the growth of the game at all levels. From amateur local kick abouts, to elite performances, to supporting your team, we wanted to create a digital safe space where young women could inspire others and create a community.
With great results across impressions, video views and engagements the campaign inspired hundreds of young women to join our UGC wall using the hashtag, in turn inspiring others and helping to grow the women’s game.
Brighton & Hove Albion FC
Brighton and Hove is a vibrant and inclusive city. The LGBTQ+ community is 6 times higher than the national average and we have the highest proportion in the country identifying themselves as non-binary. Our challenge is to reflect this demographic, ensure an inclusive experience for all and help educate by setting the best example. New initiatives for 2022/23 include extending our activation with our official LGBT supporter groups, making them an integral part of our everyday. We have introduced the Albion Ally scheme, fans pledging to support and stand up for our LGBTQ community. Without being prescriptive or judging, we are running a pilot scheme in using non-binary references with coaching and communications, making it clear that we are open and accepting difference. Internally we are proud to have enhanced our Gender Identity training and an active LGBTQ network. We are active all year round in Brighton and Hove, supporting a new active open space in the city centre for all things LGBTQ, supporting volunteers and culminating in now our 9th year of partnership with Brighton Pride.
Our call-to-action Season long at Chelsea FC is that we are committed to advocating, supporting, and motivating allyship, through ensuring LGBTQI+ rights are a fundamental part of our internal and external campaigns, policies and initiatives. We want to create a club and communities that are open and welcoming to all. As part of our campaign we ensured we addressed our four key buckets of ED&I Educating, Celebrating, Communicating and Motivating allyship and action through our players, employees, fans and society. We are proud to be reminded of the longevity of our British Diversity Award shortlisted Say Yes to Rainbow Laces & No To Hate campaign as colleagues continue to choose to wear rainbow lanyards, and our Stamford Bridge and Kingsmeadow stadiums include permanent progressive flags on the Shed end wall and entrance respectively. Our commitment to education across the club continues, as well as playing an active part in addressing any form of discrimination whilst home or away.
As a club we continue to be at the fore front of progressing LGBTQI+ inclusion in football to ensure football is a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.
Global digital sports platform Fanatics is the ultimate one-stop sports fan destination that ignites and harnesses the passion of fans and maximises the presence and reach for preeminent sports partners globally.
Fanatics partners with many of the world’s leading football clubs and institutions, including (but not limited to) Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), the FA, UEFA, the DFB, Atletico Madrid, Everton and Aston Villa.
In August 2022, Fanatics embarked upon a partnership with campaigning organisation Kick it Out, to spark positive change in the football and wider sporting industry, as well as offer fans the opportunity to show their support through officially branded merchandise. Fanatics designs, manufactures and sells a diverse, fashion-forward range of Kick It Out-branded merchandise across its owned sites and partner network, with all net profits from the sales of this merchandise donated directly to Kick It Out to support its work.
The partnership allows Kick it Out to leverage Fanatics’ extensive resources and experience in licensed merchandise design, manufacture and retail, as well as Fanatics’ partner network of 900+ sports teams, clubs and organisations, as a platform for Kick It Out, supporting its mission to tackle discrimination and promote equality and inclusion in all sports.
Level equals (level=)
Level= is a consciously inclusive talent acquisition solution, with a mission to help every sporting organisation implement inclusive recruitment practices that are designed to eliminate bias and ensure that all candidates are given a fair chance to showcase their skills and abilities.
Level= conducted extensive research as part of its #campaignforchange and identified several key areas where football organisations needed support with fair and inclusive practices.
To address these issues, level= developed an innovative, debiased process that involves attracting diverse talent, using anonymised applications, assessing work samples that test applicants on their skills and ability, conducting structured interviews, providing personalised candidate feedback on performance, and producing hiring and diversity reports.
Level= has worked on multiple projects with Brentford FC, and The Premier League, to aid the development of inclusive cultures. By targeting diverse communities and using a debiased approach, level= has helped to increase the number of employees from underrepresented groups within these organisations.
Overall, level= is disrupting the status quo to drive positive change, unearthing vital talent, attracting more diverse candidates, reducing time spent on recruiting for hiring teams, and providing a positive candidate experience, with an average score of 85% from all those who have encountered the process.
Red Together is Liverpool Football Club’s overarching approach to equality diversity and inclusion. It encompasses its internal efforts around increasing diversity of the workforce and creating a sense of belonging and inclusion for its people. Externally, it is focused on how the club assumes its responsibility to be a champion and advocate for equality, diversity, and inclusion; using its global brand and reach to educate, raise awareness, and ultimately challenge all forms of discrimination in-stadia and online.
Preston North End Community and Education Trust
As part of the wide-reaching PR-Community Campaign, we delivered the following:
Break Your Fast event.
Multi-Faith Prayer Rooms.
Match tickets to local mosques and Muslim groups.
Diversification in employment of staff.
Show Racism the Red Card workshops to partner schools.
Visit from NHS Health Inequalities Lead, Dr. Bola Owalabi.
EDI Officer, Mo Patel featured on the panel at the EFL Trust Conference.
The overriding objective was to embed EDI across the organisation at all levels, aligned with our EDI action plan.
Primarily, we wanted to:
Work with underrepresented groups across the city, in particular the South Asian community, Special Educational Needs, Disability [SEND] community and LGBTQ+ community.
Make our staff, participants and the Preston North End fanbase more diverse and widely represented, so we better reflect the make-up of our local community.
Improve the overall knowledge and understanding of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion across the city, promoting integration between different groups and sections of society. For example, the Preston Supporters Collective attended our Break Your Fast event and PNECET staff joined the breaking of the fast, to broaden their understanding of the religious event.
Proud Baggies is run as a not-for-profit organisation by a motivated group of volunteers lead by Piero Zizzi and Neil Basterfield. The Group have 300+ active members and their work extends beyond WBA into the local community, working closely with a number of partners across Sandwell and Birmingham. In 2022 they co-founded the Pride House for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games which was the most inclusive Pride House of any major sporting event to date.
Whilst Proud Baggies focus is on ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for WBA’s LGBTQ+ fans, they are also heavily engaged in LGBTQ+ awareness across the local Region, engaging in schools outreach work with The Albion Foundation (WBA’s official charity partner), providing advice and guidance to numerous local organisations as well as delivering inhouse training to WBA’s matchday stewards and wider workforce. Additionally, the groups’ innovative campaigns for Rainbow Laces and Football v Homophobia have won praise whilst raining awareness of LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport.
The group are already multi-award winners and were shortlisted for Football v Homophobia and Football Supporters Association (FSA) awards for 3 years running.
Watford FC (and Watford FC’s Community Sports and Education Trust)
Watford Football Club drives the message that football is a game for everyone, and with its reach, it has the power to educate, role model, and implement inclusion amongst diversity to all. Led by a dedicated team of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion personnel, the way of Watford is so much more than just words. This can’t be achieved by one team alone though, collaboration is their finest asset, both internally and externally, with strong partnerships built with national and local organisations, agencies, and charities.