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England’s FA proposes diversity reforms

London (AFP) – England’s Football Association announced plans to appoint more female and black and minority ethnic (BAME) members on Monday as part of a shake-up to make the organisation more diverse.

British sports minister Tracey Crouch has given the FA until April to overhaul its governance structures or risk losing around £30 million ($36.8 million, 34.7 million euros) in funding.

The proposals, unanimously approved by the FA’s board, include three board positions for female members and two BAME posts on the FA council, effectively the organisation’s parliament.

“I am delighted that the FA board is able to unanimously recommend this strong package of reforms,” said FA chairman Greg Clarke in a statement.

“These reforms are a significant step forward in making the leadership of football more inclusive and representative.

“They will ensure greater independence and diversity into our decision-making structures and therefore improve our game.”

As part of the proposals, the FA’s board will be reduced from 12 members to 10, three of whom will have to be female by 2018. There is currently one female board member.

The 122-person council will get 11 new members, including one additional disability representative, one extra supporter representative and two BAME representatives.

The council currently features only eight women and four BAME members, which has prompted accusations it is out of touch.

The council will vote on the recommendations on April 3 and if approved, they will go before a vote of shareholders at the FA’s annual general meeting on May 18.

Last month, British lawmakers passed a motion of no confidence in the FA, but Crouch said the motion, which was non-binding, was “premature”.

Clarke has vowed to step down if the government is not satisfied with his efforts to drive through reform.

Five former senior FA executives have criticised the organisation, which is the world’s oldest football association, for failing to “self-reform”.

David Bernstein, David Davies, Greg Dyke, Alex Horne and David Triesman said the FA was outdated, held back by “elderly white men” and unable to counter the power of the Premier League.

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