The Football Association is planning to honour the Ryman League with a national award to recognise its commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in the game.
The FA have told proud officials to start preparing to collect a special trophy and certificate after the Ryman League successfully achieved the ‘Foundation’ level of the Equality Standard for Sport accreditation.
Run by The Sports Council Equality Group (SCEG) on behalf of UK Sport, Sport England and those representing Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the benchmarking initiative was launched nationally in 2004 to promote and develop equality in sport.
In their report recommending the prestigious recognition, SCEG assessors singled out the Ryman League’s equality policy of directly linking sanctions related to discrimination in a positive way to ensure that everyone associated with the league from members of the board to sponsors and staff, together with their counterparts at all 72 clubs, are clear about the commitment to tackling bad behaviour.
In a letter congratulating the Ryman League’s staff and volunteers for their time, effort and dedication in becoming only the second competition in the country to achieve the accreditation, the FA’s Equality manager Kevin Coleman said assessors had cited a number of key areas of strength including a public commitment to addressing and preventing inequality and discrimination and a zero tolerance approach towards harassment and unfair treatment.
The Ryman League is now aiming to achieve the next level of Equality Standard for Sport accreditation while stepping up its efforts to lead the way in combating harassment and discrimination.
Hailing the FA’s decision to recognise the competition, Ryman League chairman Nick Robinson said: “This is a tremendous achievement as we are only the second league in the country to achieve the Foundation level. We hope that others will follow our lead while we press on to the next level!”