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Stormzy and Adidas launch #Merky FC to improve football diversity

UK artist Stormzy has announced a new collaboration with Adidas. #Merky FC will be a programme ‘committed to enhancing and protecting diverse representation in the football industry’.

Stormzy has just launched a new programme called #Merky FC to boost and protect diversity within the footballing industry, both on and off the pitch.

#Merky FC was created in partnership with Adidas and will bring in ten other organisations to widen the scope of its ambitions. These include Manchester United, Fulham FC, and Sky Sports, to name a few. A careers programme will commence in January 2023.

In a statement, Stormzy said that each partner will ‘provide work placements, from operations and community to creative and marketing, [all] within their businesses’.

He added that the support of such a large network will ‘aid the people who may have experienced disadvantages during their career pathway’. #Merky FC is part of Stormzy’s ‘wider commitment to support racial equality in the UK’.

But what spurred on all this positive social change? A recent Adidas and Fare Network-commissioned research project found that only 6.7% of senior roles in football are currently taken by someone who identifies as Black or mixed Black heritage.

In the Premier League, meanwhile, 39% of players identify as Black or mixed Black heritage. A measly 26% of young Black British men ‘aspire to have a career in football off the pitch’.

52% of Black women who were surveyed said they’d be interested in a football career, but 40% also said they did not believe they could find success due to their gender.

A #Merky FC press release explains that ‘one of the biggest challenge faced by young Black people trying to break into the industry is their ethnic background’.

For this group of people, jobs in physio, TV, and nutrition were most common. Only 12-14% of respondents ‘think they would be considered for each of these positions’, however.

It’s hoped that #Merky FC will help to create genuine opportunities for marginalised groups that are often side-lined in a mostly white industry, particularly for top level jobs.

Think of #Merky FC as the roots of something larger, hopefully bringing in a wave of new approaches and opportunities beyond just Stormzy and Adidas’ efforts.

Looking for more information? You can visit the official #Merky FC website here. You can even apply to get involved!