Women’s Euro 2022: England’s white line-up reignites debate about lack of diversity in women’s and elite women’s football | football news

Wednesday’s opening match of Euro 2022 between England and Austria at Old Trafford marked a watershed moment for women’s football.

Seeing a predominantly young and female crowd of nearly 69,000 pack Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, literally highlighted the great strides women’s football has made in England in recent years.

But there was also something more remarkable to many people in England and beyond, especially once it was shared on social media.

England fielded an all-white starting XI against Austria.

Three substitutes came on during the 1–0 win against Austria. They were also white, leaving many ethnically diverse women and girls wondering where they would fit in during a tournament that aims to inspire a generation.

How diverse is Euro 2022?

The tournament has not yet revealed figures based on diversity and Sky sports news has contacted all the international federations of the teams that have played matches so far to request this information.

But in the first set of matches before the weekend, there has been a conspicuous lack of ethnic diversity on the pitch…

Austria’s starting eleven for their match against England

How does Euro 2022’s lack of diversity compare?

Research presented by Leon Mann MBE at the ‘D-word 4’ conference held by Black Collective of Media in Sport offers some context to the England numbers.

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Leon Mann MBE, founder of the Black Collective of Media in Sport, says he hopes his award can help spread the word about diversity and boost the meaningful work some people are doing.

Mann revealed that Gareth Southgate’s England squad for last summer’s Men’s European Championship featured 11 players, 48 ​​per cent, of black or mixed descent, while 51 per cent of the Team GB athletes who traveled to the Games Tokyo Olympians the same year were black or mixed. heritage background.

According to the Black Footballers Partnership, co-founded by QPR duo Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsey, former Birmingham and Derby full-back Michael Johnson and former senior player Eartha Pond, around 43 per cent of Premier League players are black. .

Stefan Szymanski Report
The Szymanski report commissioned by the Black Football Partnership shows a massive drop when it comes to off-field representation.

But when it comes to the Women’s Super League, the top division of women’s football in England, the Professional Footballers’ Association revealed last week that only 29 of the WSL’s 300 players, 9.7 per cent, are of mixed ethnic origin. .

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Following England’s 1-0 win over Austria in the opening match of Euro 2022, Ellen White says the Lionesses want everyone to be proud of this England team.

In Phil Neville’s England squad at the last Women’s World Cup, there were only two ethnically diverse players in the squad: Nikita Parris and Demi Stokes. The same two players are in Wiegman’s squad and came on as substitutes in England’s win against Austria.

These numbers provide a stark reminder of the chronic problem of underrepresentation at the elite end of the girls’ and women’s game.

Baroness Campbell: Real change ‘could’ take a few years

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The FA’s director of women’s football, Baroness Sue Campbell, believes meaningful change for the various communities at the elite end of the women’s game could take years, admitting the current talent identification and recruitment system excludes many people.

The Premier League has given the Football Association £5.25m over three years to fund a new network of Emerging Talent Centers (ETCs), which the FA says will provide high-quality coaching to 4,200 girls aged eight to 16. by the end of the 2023/24 season, compared to the current 1,722.

The Football Association launched the discover my talent reference scheme for female players in their teens almost a year ago. speaking to Sky sports news on discover my talent A few days before the start of the tournament, Baroness Sue Campbell, the FA’s director of women’s football, said that if they can make the scheme inclusive, then the process of speeding up the arrival of players from various ethnic backgrounds may take “some years.” “.

Expanding on her desire to see real change in terms of ethnic diversity at the elite level, Baroness Campbell added: “We want it to be representative of the society we live in and so, yes, we want it to feel and look different”.

“And that adage has been used a million times. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. We realize that.”

“And it’s not just the players, we’re doing a lot to diversify our coaching workforce, we’re doing a lot to diversify our refereeing workforce because again, you know, it’s helping people all over England recognize that this is a game for everyone.” It’s football for everyone. It is not football for those who can afford it or for those who can afford it.”

sky sports recognized and started taking action to address the lack of diversity in women’s football in 2020 as part of its £30m commitment to tackle systemic racism and make a difference in communities across the UK.

Sky Sports worked with dozens of current and former players from various ethnic backgrounds, trying to give them a platform to share their stories to try and capture the imagination and inspire the next generation of footballers.

The talent has been identified and pointed directly to the Football Association and clubs as part of Sky Sports’ unprecedented commitment to British South Asians in football, which has also seen us dedicate a section of our website to creating awareness of South Asians in the game, and create a dedicated rolling blog.

Several elite and potential elite players and their families have also been supported with mentorship and access to off-field development opportunities.

Roop Kaur Jira Rai
Roop Kaur met Kira Rai from Derby County at the Seeing is Believing event, devised by Sky Sports and Sporting Equals for the centenary Indian Gymkhana sports club (credit: Dev Trehan)

Earlier this year, Sky Sports also partnered with the country’s largest sports racing equality charity, Sporting Equals, which has enabled us to support participation across the country, including creating the “Seeing is Believing” event. for the centenary Gymkhana sports club in West London.

British South Asians in football

For more stories, features and videos visit our innovative South Asians in Football page on skysports.com and the South Asians in the Game blog and keep an eye on Sky Sports News. Y our Sky Sports digital platforms.

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