Mings warns black players will boycott clubs not signed up to new code

Aston Villa star Tyrone Mings warns black players will NOT sign for clubs that haven’t joined up to FA’s new diversity code – with Southampton the only Premier League side not to do so

  • Football Association unveiled a historic leadership diversity code on Tuesday
  • Southampton are the only Premier League club not to have joined initiative
  • Over 40 clubs have agreed to become founding members of the code 

Tyrone Mings believes black footballers will consider boycotting clubs who have not signed up to the FA’s historic leadership diversity code, which was unveiled on Tuesday.

As revealed by Sportsmail, Southampton are the only Premier League club not to have joined the FA’s new initiative to help combat inequality at the very top of football. 

Over 40 clubs across men’s and women’s professional football have agreed to becoming founding members of the code, with the FA hopeful that many more will follow suit.

Tyrone Mings believes black players could boycott clubs who have not signed up to new code

England defender Mings was part of a players’ focus group who helped develop the code

Aston Villa defender Mings was part of a players’ focus group who helped develop the code and — alongside the chair of the FA’s advisory inclusion board Paul Elliott — played a key role ahead of its launch.

The code, as revealed by Sportsmail last week, demands that clubs appoint more female, black, Asian and mixed-heritage staff to coaching positions.

And Mings, 27, said: ‘Of course it will come into players’ minds if they see that one club has alienated itself from the code by choosing not to sign up or choosing to not be a part of it. You would want to ask the question why.

‘That may be an issue that those clubs may have to deal with in the future, those difficult conversations around, ‘Why haven’t you signed up?’.’

England star Mings, who was racially abused during his international debut in Bulgaria last year, has been a big supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement — he was one of 4,000 people to attend a march in Birmingham in June.

Southampton’s current position as the only top-flight club not to sign up certainly leaves them open to criticism. 

The drive – led by Paul Elliott – aims at increasing diversity and inclusion across English football

But those in positions of power at St Mary’s are said to be entirely comfortable with their decision, believing their work in promoting equality and diversity at the club in recent years speaks for itself.

There is also a feeling — a view shared by a number of EFL clubs who have decided against joining — that Southampton did not feel they were afforded enough time to consider whether joining up to the code would be worthwhile, given the advances they have already made internally in trying to create a more diverse workforce.

The club were reluctant to sign up as a token gesture and issued a robust defence of their decision in a statement — but also opened the door to becoming a member in the future.

‘Southampton FC are wholly supportive of the Football Leadership Diversity Code objectives,’ they said in a statement. ‘We are aware that the Premier League are revising their Equality Standard to bring the two closer together.

The clubs who have signed up will be tasked with meeting targets, including that 25 per cent of new coaching arrivals at mens professional teams will be Black, Asian or of Mixed-Heritage

‘At this time the club consider its most appropriate course of action is to wait and understand how a revised Premier League Equality Standard and the Football Leadership Diversity Code will work together and complement each other before revising our recruitment targets and already established processes.

‘We have had productive and encouraging discussions with Paul Elliott on this topic and will continue to work closely with him on this.’

On Southampton’s decision, Mings acknowledged that having total unanimity in the top flight would be symbolic of a collective determination to drive equality.

He said: ‘I don’t know the reasons why Southampton haven’t signed up but I guess if there’s one that hasn’t it means 19 have. It’s important to look at the positives. The fact that there are so many that have signed up represents huge progress and that is probably more important than the one that hasn’t.

‘But of course if they do sign up and the whole Premier League signs up it represents a real collective sign of people wanting to make change.

‘At the moment that’s not something that we have but hopefully in future they will and they will see the benefits of being part of a collective.’

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