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The governance index report

Sterkenburg, J. van, Cremers, R., Longas Luque, C., Lienden, A. van, Elling, A.
Fare Network
50 p. fig. tab. Met lit. opg.

The governance index report: levels of gender and ethnic/racial representation in leadership positions in European football


The representation of ethnic minority players in many national professional football leagues is larger than the ethnic diversity in the respective societies at large. However, previous research also showed that regardless of the ethnic diversity amongst male professional football players and the enormous growth in women’s (professional) football, positions of leadership in European football are largely dominated by ethnic majority/white men.

In this study, levels of representation of minority ethnic groups and women in different leadership positions (governance, operations and coaching) in European football have been investigated once more to monitor whether policies and actions undertaken at different levels (professional clubs, national leagues, UEFA) to stimulate ethnic and gender diversity have resulted in enlarged diversity in football leadership.

Research methods
The findings are based on two rounds of documentary and web-based analysis of ethnic and gender diversity in senior leadership and coaching positions (governance, operations and coaching) in 2020 and 2022 in 14 countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

For each country, the data was collected by a national data collector who had sufficient knowledge about the football system at the country in question.

The analysis concerned leadership and coaching positions at 14 national football federations, 13 national elite league associations, 344 elite level professional clubs and UEFA. The professional clubs analysed all operated in the highest national football league during either the 2019-2020 or 2021-2022 season.

The data collection ideally occurred between 16 June and 16 July 2020, and 14 February and 7 March 2022 and concerned a total number of 3,955 positions of leadership in 2020 and 4,439 in 2022.

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