Football Leadership Diversity Code

Football Leadership Diversity Code

FA Diversity Code 2021


The FA have launched a version of the Football Leadership Diversity Code tailored for the National League System, Women’s pyramid and grassroots football, aiming to tackle inequality and improve representation of diverse groups across senior leadership positions, wider team operations and coaching roles.

The Football Leadership Diversity Code has been developed in collaboration with club leaders, community football representatives, County FA chief executives and others across the game to ensure English football at all levels better represents our modern and diverse society.

Recognising that off the pitch, club administration and support structures do not currently reflect the increasing diversity that we see on the pitch, the Code will increase accountability and transparency. Its aim is for clubs across the non-elite game to commit to being leaders in football diversity, ensuring they promote and deliver the highest standards of inclusion across their clubs.

The Code focuses on increasing equality of opportunity by encouraging the selection of leaders and coaches based on merit from a significantly wider pool of diverse talent.

At the heart of the Code is the desire to change culture within club environments to be holistically inclusive with realistic commitments, recognising the unique challenges that are presented to clubs operating at these levels of the English game, who have primarily volunteer-based workforces.

This means ensuring club culture encourages people from all backgrounds to be part of football in their local communities, both as participants and in roles off the pitch. We are encouraging all clubs to sign up to the Code as it will form part of the minimum requirements for England Football-accredited status each season. 

Signatories of the Code will adhere to the following five commitments, effective immediately:

  • Club leadership: Our club’s leadership should reflect the diversity of our local community
  • Coaching and selection: Ensuring diversity within our volunteer coaching workforce
  • Culture: Continuing to strive for the most inclusive club culture
  • Reporting discrimination: Encouraging the reporting of discrimination
  • Raising awareness: Raising awareness on the topic of equality, diversity and inclusion

Clubs will be able to adopt the Football Leadership Diversity Code and apply for accreditation the Club Portal, and those across the National League System and Women’s pyramid will go beyond the foundations of this Code as they progress towards the higher levels of the game.

For further details on how your club can adopt the Football Leadership Diversity Code, please download our guidance document here or via the link below. You can also access guidance on how the Code can be adopted here.

In the coming months, The FA will provide online training and education sessions to drive best practice for signatory clubs on equality, diversity and inclusion, recruitment, coaching diversity, reporting discrimination, and youth football. 

James Kendall, The FA's Director of Football Development, said: "We're deeply committed to ensuring English football thrives at all levels of the game and this is an important development in our efforts to achieve that. We believe the Code will significantly change football for the better, particularly in local communities where the game plays a crucial part in people’s lives. It will ensure clubs reap the rewards of greater engagement and collaboration with the communities they serve. We want positive, inclusive cultures to be at the heart of everything we do, and only by working together with clubs and leagues can we achieve true equality across the English game.


Learn more about the Football Leadership Diversity Code and access a host of resources via

Football Leadership and Diversity Code