Stormzy launches Merky FC to increase diversity in football. ‘Enough. We perform our duties on the field, but away from the field, it’s as if we don’t exist.
These are Stormzy’s exact comments as he today announces the start of a football program with Adidas to aid Black people in obtaining jobs in the larger sector.
Merky FC offers access to multi-year, paid professional placements in order to promote more diversity among club management, coaches, and other administrative positions.
Stormzy launches Merky FC to increase diversity in football. Stormzy highlighted his ambition to develop the next generation of sports leaders in the project’s stirring debut video.
The collaboration brings together 11 partners including Manchester United, Fulham FC and Sky Sports as part of the careers programme, which will start in January 2023.
The British grime star, 29, said: ‘Just 6.7% of senior roles in football are taken by someone who identifies as Black or mixed Black heritage.
‘We barely see any Black team managers, coaches, sports presenters, assistants, ops managers, sales managers, accountants, marketing managers or physiotherapists – the list goes on, nor are many of us even aware of the vast roles available within the football industry.’
Research commissioned by Adidas with the Fare (Football Against Racism in Europe) Network says though the sport may appear diverse on the field, with 39% of Premier League players identifying as Black or mixed Black heritage, it is a different story off the pitch.
The partners involved in Merky FC initiative will each provide work placements in a bid to change the game and the programme will be available to young people of Black heritage aged 18 to 24.
Stormzy has been active throughout this career in helping to improve diversity in the music industry and beyond through his charity Merky Foundation and Merky Books, a collaboration with publisher Penguin Random House.
Since 2018, the Croydon-born rapper has been providing scholarships for Black students at Cambridge university in a bid to address the relatively low number of Black students who attend Oxbridge institutions.
He has received many plaudits for this work, and Merky FC appears to be no exception.
‘Merky x Adidas is pushing the culture forward, creating and increasing opportunities for young Black people in the sport’, one Twitter user reacted. Another called it a ‘game changer’.
The programme has also gained endorsement from football legends like Ian Wright who said of increasing diversity off the pitch: ‘You need more people in the room… you need more in the door.’
And now, as Stormzy declares at the end of the Murky FC launch video: ‘That’s all about to change.’