Focus on institutional discrimination in Amsterdam10 December 2014


The ‘Breaking the Glass Ceiling’ seminar at Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium, will feature high-profile representatives from UEFA, the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) and the Fare network on 12 December.

A new report commissioned by Fare, and funded by UEFA, “The Glass Ceiling in European Football” will be presented that looks into the levels of representation of visible ethnic minorities and women in leadership positions, and the experiences of elite level ethnic minority coaches in European football.

Research data

The research data and analysis produced by Dr Steven Bradbury (Loughborough University, England), with Dr Jacco Van Sterkenburg (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands) and Professor Patrick Mignon (INSEP, France), has found that less than 4% of European football leaders are women, only 12% of women are employed as senior administrators and only 3.4% of elite level coaches at clubs are from an ethnic minority background.

Representatives of the Fare Board will be among the 70 high ranking people from within European football, opinion formers and NGO groups.

As well as looking at the themes covered by the research the seminar delegates will also look at the barriers faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from participating in football.

Amsterdam Pact

KNVB president Michael van Praag said: “This week the Royal Netherlands Football Association celebrates its 125th anniversary and on our anniversary we want to give something back to the sport. Our goal this Friday is to sign the ‘Amsterdam Pact’ for a structural approach to institutional discrimination. Everyone in football should have the same opportunities.”

UEFA President Michel Platini, who will be present in Amsterdam, voiced his commitment to the cause: “We have a zero-tolerance policy towards all kinds of discrimination and we must continue to discuss ways in which we can eradicate it from football once and for all. Seminars like this bring opinion leaders and experts together in order to tackle the problem and find solutions.”

Change in regard to women and minorities

Piara Powar, Executive Director of Fare network, said: “The seminar will deal with some difficult but critical issues faced by football in regard to the exclusion of women and minorities within the leadership of the game. Our aim is to highlight areas where we can bring about change and to bring about change to make European football more diverse.”

Former footballers including former AC Milan player and coach Clarence Seedorf and former Blackburn Rovers FC striker Jason Roberts will share their experiences.

Clarence Seedorf

European Commissioner Frans Timmermans will give an opening speech, together with Mr Van Praag. Dr Steven Bradbury from Loughborough University and Professor Kari Fasting of The Norwegian School of Sport Sciences will also present the latest research on discrimination and minority representation in football.