EVESHAM’s MP and Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston MP held a roundtable with the Culture Secretary and current and former players from the Premier League, English Football League (EFL), Women’s Super League (WSL) and Women’s Championship.
Discussions aimed to get the players’ perspective on tackling discrimination and abuse in the game, as part of their series of discussions on the “Future of Football”.
Players who shared their views included Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Rinsola Babajide, Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings and Watford’s Troy Deeney, alongside former players including Karen Carney and Anton Ferdinand.
Players talked about their experiences of discrimination and abuse that they and their fellow footballers have faced, and how they want to tackle this problem.
Liverpool FC player and captain Jordan Henderson said: “The meeting was very important and I’m pleased that those with power and authority to enact change realise the seriousness of the abuse towards players.”
Representatives from the game also talked about the need to drive forward diversity in leadership in the game, and welcomed recent steps taken by clubs to support this.
The meeting was called by Ministers ahead of the launch of a fan-led review of football governance, and ahead of the government introducing new laws to hold social media companies to account for online harms.
The Government is taking soundings from a variety of figures in football, prior to formally launching a fan led governance review, as committed to in the 2019 manifesto which will shape reform of the national game.
Ministers opened the series in November bringing together leaders from across football where they discussed financial sustainability and governance, diversity and growing the women’s game.
Following the meeting a financial package was agreed between the Premier League and the EFL, and the Government announced funding for National League and women’s football clubs.
Mr Huddleston said: “The roundtable was extremely useful and insightful in understanding what players face, not just when they’re playing but what they are facing online as well.
“We are committed to making sure they feel heard as we work towards reforming the governance of football, and making sure that abuse and discrimination have no place in our sports games.”