To watch the short video on the FA x BCOMS event click on the picture above.
England manager, Gareth Southgate, joined 40 young aspiring journalists from diverse backgrounds at Wembley Stadium to give his support to The Football Association’s partnership with BCOMS (Black Collective of Media in Sport), as part of an innovative initiative, supported by the Mayor of London, to help push for greater diversity in the sports media.
The young journalists, from groups who are currently underrepresented in the industry (BAME, LGBTQ+, Deaf and disabled, and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds), have been attending a series of masterclasses and networking events with some of the biggest names in sports journalism.
BCOMS and The Football Association, with the support of the Mayor of London and London Sport, are providing a range of incredible opportunities for the group to practise their newly learnt skills and gain real-world experience. These opportunities will include interviewing players, documenting the fan experience and reporting from matches – as well as developing content throughout the UEFA EURO 2020,when seven matches will be hosted in London at Wembley Stadium.
The session was opened by Mark Bullingham, CEO of the FA, who underlined his organisation’s commitment to diversity. Following this introduction, Southgate sat down with the young people for an exclusive Q+A with the group.
The young journalists asked the England manager questions on the importance of diversity in the media and wider industry, leadership and for his thoughts on specific issues such as the lack of British Asian players and black coaches in the professional game. He also addressed questions on LGBTQ+ and women’s football.
Gareth Southgate said: “I am really happy to see this programme taking place and I was hugely impressed by the young journalists. There was a lot of talent in the room and I hope to see the media, and entire industry, become more representative of the sport and society.
“The work BCOMS is doing is important and I’m glad to see The FA getting behind it in this way. We all have a part to play here and it will only strengthen the game.”
BCOMS founder, Leon Mann, who hosted the session, added: “To have the support of the England manager and the FA is huge for the drive for greater diversity in the sports media and BCOMS. The young people have been left inspired and I am very confident they will now go on to become the role models needed for those that follow them into the industry.
“Gareth offered some superb advice and spoke with honesty and passion on the need for the sports media and the wider game to be more diverse. His words and time will really help all of the aspiring journalists in the room.”
The lack of diversity in the sports media industry has been brought into stark focus by research carried out by BCOMS in 2018. This found that of the 63 sports journalists sent by the mainstream national press to the World Cup in Russia, there was only one black sports writer and three women. There were no BAME women accredited for national UK press at the tournament.
Of the onscreen broadcast talent and visible writers covering Wimbledon, the World Cup, Winter Olympics and Paralympics, Commonwealth Games and European Games:
The Mayor of London’s Diversification of the Sports Media programme, delivered by BCOMS, will do the following:
• Identify BAME, LGBTQ+, Deaf or disabled, lower socio-economic talent with an ambition to work in the sports media industry
• Build confidence and enhance the skills of a diverse group of young people
• Create a network of industry experts to support this talent
• Specifically develop the numbers of BAME female talent
• Connect this talent with industry seniors and suitable workplaces
• Identify suitable work experience and volunteering opportunities in partnership with the GLA, London Sport, The FA and UEFA.