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London FA overhauls board to reflect capital’s diverse football community

Friday, 18 August 2017


The London Football Association (LFA), the largest of the County Football Associations, is undertaking a transformational overhaul of its Board and inviting applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply for a range of new Non-Executive Board positions.

The move, which follows The FA’s own governance initiative earlier this year, will ensure that London’s diverse football community has a greater say in shaping a more inclusive and sustainable future for the sport in the city.

The LFA’s corporate governance reforms comply with Sport England’s Code for Sports Governance, which was launched in May 2017 to ensure the highest levels of transparency are present in all sports.

Leading the reforms, the organisation’s first female CEO, Lisa Pearce, explained: “London is a fantastically diverse city where football is enjoyed and played by over half a million people, whether at school, Sunday League five-aside or at a professional level.

“We want to reflect this diversity in the members of our Board. As the first woman to hold the role of CEO at the LFA, it’s particularly poignant for me to lead London’s governing body of the game through this exciting period of change and enrich the future of grassroots football in London.

“Creating a new structure at board level provides greater representation of the communities we serve.  We are also strengthening our decision-making process to ensure that our actions are fair, transparent and promote equality of opportunity for all.

“By helping change perceptions and turn our ambitions into action, we want to give Londoners, irrespective of age, background, gender, ethnicity and ability, greater involvement in how the game is run.”

Sir Simon Hughes, Independent Director of the LFA, says: “Football is deeply woven into the fabric of our society and it is hugely important for the sport to provide access and opportunities for all members of the community.

“We want to see the right people in place to help the LFA meet its objectives and deliver great experiences across the capital to help more people get into and stay playing the game.”

Alongside these new governance reforms, the LFA is investing £150,000 in attracting more girls to the sport. This includes launching the FA’s new Wildcats programme in London, targeting five to 11-year olds.

The LFA will introduce a new Walking Football initiative this autumn to support the physical and mental wellbeing of over 55-year olds and to grow the number of football teams to meet demand this season, the LFA has launched a new £100,000 investment programme for clubs and leagues to access grassroots funding.

The new LFA positions include three independent Non-Executive Directors, six Football / Sport Directors and one Finance & Risk Director.

They will act as ‘Champions of Business’ through their diverse skills, experience and backgrounds, applying their independent expertise to the LFA Board.

Following the announcement of its new board structure, the LFA has welcomed widespread support from the sporting community.

Kelly Simmons, MBE, FA Participation and Development Director, added: “Following a trailblazing summer of women’s sport, and record numbers of people watching women’s football, the LFA’s new Board strategy will ensure more women will have the opportunity to contribute to play the game at all levels.

“By creating a strong base and developing inspirational role models, the LFA is removing the social barriers to participation so that people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities have the opportunity to get involved.”

Roisin Wood, Chief Executive Officer at Kick It Out, said: “Kick It Out is in full support of London FA’s efforts to ensure they have a Board and Council that represents the diversity of the capital.

“We would strongly urge candidates from underrepresented communities to apply for these positions to help London FA develop further their equality and inclusion work.”

Emma Hayes, Manager of Chelsea Ladies FC, said: “Women’s football has never been in such a strong position and following England’s bid for the Women’s Euros in 2021, this is a fantastic opportunity to cement the long-term future of the sport.

“We applaud the LFA’s decision to open up football to the wider community and meet the needs of unrepresented groups including females and those from BAME backgrounds.

“Now is the time to inspire and welcome more people into our wonderful sport so they can live healthier, more fulfilled lives.”
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