This afternoon we welcome the supporters, officials and playing staff of Barnsley. it is nearly thirty years since the sides last played each other at the Abbey Stadium.
We also pay respects to our former monarch Queen Elizabeth. During this moment whatever your views please allow this tribute to take place respectfully. There are many different views but for a short period of time let us as a club come together by sharing a period of silence.
Last month figures from across football came together to launch the EFL’s new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy, ‘Together’.
The strategy sets out a clear, five-year vision for the EFL and its Clubs to reflect and represent the communities they serve.
The new strategy will unite all aspects of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion across the season, and EFL Clubs’ kits will display the Together sleeve badge throughout the campaign.
Core to the Together strategy is the need to work collaboratively and a desire to provide everyone with the same opportunity to succeed, and it serves as a reminder that, while progress has been made, there is still much to do to enact positive change across the country.
Objectives of the strategy include:
· ensuring the workforce is representative and reflective of the communities EFL Clubs represent
· improving the diversity of supporters attending EFL matches
· challenging discrimination and behaviour both in the stands and social media
· establishing a path for continual EDI developments for Clubs
· improving the understanding of EDI across the game
One of groups helping to shape this strategy has been Fans for Diversity. They have helped the club and myself during recent years to help make the first steps towards Cambridge United being more equal, diverse, inclusive and welcoming of everyone. Our aim is to be the most welcoming and friendly club.
David McArdle, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the EFL: Hi, I’m David McArdle, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the EFL. Today has been a really exciting time for the EFL. We launched our first ever strategy for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, which is named Together. So it really sets out the next five years for the EFL and what we want to see the path look like.
Michael Seeraj, Head of EDI at Charlton Athletic FC and Charlton Athletic FC Community Trust: It’s great to be at an event and in a room with so many passionate EDI professionals and Clubs and governing bodies who are so committed to EDI. And I’m really excited about how the EFL are going to work with the Clubs to drive it forward.
Simone Pound, Director of EDI at the Professional Footballers Association: It’s really timely. I think the EFL have got a real opportunity here to demonstrate to its Clubs that there is a very clear strategy around EDI that everybody can follow and work together to co-ordinate.
Anwar Uddin, Campaign Manager at Fans For Diversity: To move forward, to achieve progress, you need guidelines, you need direction. Sometimes people say football has changed for the better or for the worse, but how do we know that? Where are our points of measure? And actually I think this strategy does that.
Sanjay Bhandari, Chair at Kick It Out: There is a challenge, but the challenge is also an opportunity. There are lots of local communities that maybe don’t feel they belong in football – those are opportunities to engage with local communities and to make them feel that football is a place for them. The best place to deliver that is the EFL, because it’s 72 Clubs the length and breadth of the country, it’s the arteries English football.
Simone Pound, Director of EDI at the Professional Footballers Association: Everyone’s got a part to play to ensure the game is a fairer, more inclusive space. We can only achieve that if we’re working together.
Anwar Uddin, Campaign Manager at Fans For Diversity: And actually make sure that in five or 10 years’ time, when we look back, we are seeing genuine progress.
Sanjay Bhandari, Chair at Kick It Out: We won’t be able to deliver the change that we want to deliver unless we do it together.
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