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The Football Black List has become the most respected celebration of African and Caribbean achievement in the British game.

According to the Black Footballers partnership 43% of professional players in the Premier League are Black, and in the EFL the 34% are from Black communities. Despite this level of representation on the pitch in the men’s game – there is a worrying lack of representation in decision making positions across all areas of the game. In the women’s game representation on the pitch is significantly lower but the issues of under-representation off the pitch are similar.

To help address this and pay tribute to those in influential positions – the Football Black List shines a light on those who are inspiring the next generation.

Household names and highly respected people from the industry including – Rio Ferdinand OBE, Dame Heather Rabbatts CBE, Yaya Toure, Hope Powell CBE, Lord Ouseley, Marcus Rashford MBE, Eniola Aluko, Raheem Sterling MBE and Rachel Yankey OBE – have all featured on the list. They have been highlighted for their efforts away from the pitch, not their achievements on it.

We believe by highlighting role models – working across a wide range of positions in football – young people will be more encouraged to think about how they can get involved in the sport beyond the field of play.

The initiative, which has been supported by The FA, Premier League, Professional Footballers Association, English Football League, PGMOL, LMA and Kick It Out, also provides an opportunity to reflect on how diverse the football industry is, discuss the under representation of people from African and Caribbean backgrounds – and, most importantly, how to address this issue.

Vitally, the Football Black List also pays tribute to individuals making a difference within the community and at the grassroots level of the game.

The list is published exclusively in The Voice Newspaper every year to ensure it is rooted in the African and Caribbean community and has received widespread mainstream coverage across the UK on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky Sports, as well as in The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mirror, The Sun, Daily Telegraph, The Daily Star and Independent.

Football Black List hosts a celebration event – supported by the Premier League – each year to celebrate those on the list. The last three events have been held at the Village Underground in Shoreditch and it has previously been held at Wembley Stadium twice, as well as the House of Lords and the London Olympics HQ.

The initiative has also taken the celebration up and down the country with the support of The FA. This has helped the Football Black List highlight Black talent making huge contributions in communities across the UK.

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