Southampton Football Club has been awarded the Intermediate Equality Standard for commitment to promoting equality and diversity by the Premier League.
The club’s equality group recently submitted its evidence from the past year to a Premier League panel made up of experts, including Garth Crooks, who was particularly impressed by “the professional data and evidence-driven approach” and “the attention to detail in following up on fan feedback”.
Following the award of the Preliminary Equality Standard in 2016, the club has worked tirelessly to achieve the Intermediate Equality Standard and join an elite group of seven clubs to have reached this level.
A lot of the work that led to the award was carried out under the One March banner and includes:
The installation of a Changing Places facility at St Mary’s Stadium and other improvements to accessibility
The development of eight key milestones for improving diversity across Southampton Football Club
The participation of staff in unconscious bias training
The collaboration of the equality team with partnering organisations and the associated next steps
The celebration of diversity during our One March week and Rainbow Laces match
The introduction of the Mx honorific across our online platforms
Ongoing work with the Saints Disabled Supporters Association
Maintaining and improving robust reporting procedures and policies, including the introduction of our One March text number (60060)
Ali Wallace, equality and diversity coordinator at Southampton, said: “Achieving the Intermediate Equality Standard is the culmination of 18 months of work and action to promote inclusion at the club. It is a reflection of the commitment of the equality team and other staff members we have collaborated with to develop the high-quality submission required.”
Managing director Toby Steele, who is a member of the equality team and led the panel presentation, commented: “A big thanks from me to everyone in the equality team and those across the club who gave their assistance during initiatives over the past 18 months. It’s been a team effort and this work is an incredibly rewarding part of what we do at the club.”
The Premier League Equality Standard was revised by the Premier League in 2015 to replace, and build on, Kick it Out’s Equality Standard for Professional Football Clubs.
The standard covers all areas of a club’s activity, including its role as an employer, and the work of the Community Trust or equivalent (Saints Foundation). To achieve the intermediate level, Southampton Football Club has:
Committed to achieving equality across all areas of operation
Shown awareness of its current profile and position in terms of equality and its policies seek to advance equality
Created a stadium free from incidents of discrimination, abuse and harassment
Demonstrated that it is implementing and reviewing the Equality Action Plan and has collected updated profile data
Ensured its strategies, plans, programmes, activities and key policies consider the impact on people who share protected characteristics
Advocated equality and improved and developed through consultation with key partners, stakeholders and under-represented groups
The club will now be working to achieve the coveted Advanced Equality Standard by Autumn 2019.