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Pioneering initiative aims to change composition of football’s boardrooms

Wed 2nd Apr 2014 | Football Governance

A ground-breaking initiative designed to get more former professional players onto club boards, and make football’s boardrooms more diverse, will be celebrated at Wembley Stadium today.

14 former footballers including Les Ferdinand, Chris Ramsey, Ian Taylor and Nathan Blake, will graduate from a Corporate Governance course, entitled: “On Board”, which has been funded by the Professional Footballers’ Association.

The initiative is the brainchild of former Blackburn Rovers and Wigan striker, Jason Roberts MBE, ex Portsmouth and West Brom defender, Darren Moore, and former Birmingham City duo Dave Barnett and Michael Johnson. The players worked together with leading corporate governance specialist Professor Karl George MBE and sports journalist, Leon Mann, to develop the course.

On Board, accredited by the Association Of Corporate Governance Practitioners, has been delivered by The Governance Forum and has been warmly welcomed by the football authorities.

The initiative will provide the game with a pool of former players, who are qualified and prepared to apply for boardroom positions across football, as well as also outside of the industry.

On Board participant and PFA Management Committee member, Jason Roberts MBE said: "Former footballers can play a key role on the boards of football clubs, and indeed businesses.

"Traditionally footballers have been encouraged into other areas of the game, and not the boardrooms. We want to change that. 

"Players are leading this move for better representation in the boardroom - and the On Board course is a great first step."

Professor Karl George MBE, Managing Director of The Governance Forum, added: “There has never been a greater need to make an impact on boards in the private, public and voluntary sector and attracting people from diverse backgrounds is critical. 

"The success of any organisation is hindered by not having competent and committed board members and although they must work together as a cohesive team, ‘group think’ is a major challenge to be avoided at all costs.”

PFA Chief Executive, Gordon Taylor OBE stressed the importance of the project: “We are fully committed to this innovative programme of development for our players. Focusing on governance and boards across football, sport and further afield for our players and ex-players provides a real opportunity. 

"We see this as one of the many areas of support that we provide for our players which will equip them with career opportunities and experiences after their playing careers.”

Posted by: Kev Howland 

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