MLS Plans To Target Diversity
ajor League Soccer (MLS) have announced their plans to combat inequality in sport by increasing black representation.
The new proposed initiatives were agreed upon by stakeholders after months of planning, and a meeting with the representatives of the Black Players For Change coalition.
The coalition was formed in light of the Black Lives Matter movement and is comprised of over 170 black MLS players.
The aim of its formation was to create social change and advocate for social justice, by giving a voice to black players.
MLS’s owners will be donating USD$1 million, “to aid in the growth of the organisation in the coming years.”
MLS owners, along with former players, club executives, head and academy coaches, leaders of BPC, and members of Pitch Black; a resource group, have joined to form a diversity committee.
Issues of public concern will be addressed by the committee, and an initiative named the soccer upward mobility initiative will provide exposure and career guidance to minority groups among players, coaches, and referees.
The league is also working on a program that will offer assistance for MLS spending on major events, and hiring minority-owned businesses, agencies and vendors.
They have also partnered with 100 Black Men of America and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.
The collaboration aims to create long-term mentorship programs, social justice, and workplace development, centering around financial literacy, health, and wellness.
MLS commissioner, Don Garber, said: “Major League Soccer is committed to utilising our wide-ranging platforms to create meaningful programs to address racism and social injustice in society and in the sport of soccer.”
“Importantly, alongside key stakeholders, including MLS owners, Black Players For Change, former players, Black members of our technical staff, and other employees, we have created a series of initiatives to close the representation gap across soccer in the US and Canada,” Garber said.
The decision takes place following Dell Loy Hansen selling Utah Soccer Holdings, and the MLS team Real Salt Lake, as a result of a racism controversy.
Hansen’s open criticism of Real Salt Lake players skipping playing to protest the death of Jacob Blake at the hands of police in Kenosha, Wisconsin; resulted in over USD$3 million in sponsorship revenue losses.
He has been placed under investigation by the National Women’s Soccer League and MLS for racist behaviour after taking leave from Utah Soccer Holdings.
MLS’s work towards diversity comes following the NBA’s creation of the NBA Foundation, wherein USD$300 million in community funding was given with the aim of creating growth to the black community.
Reggie Canon, ex FC Dallas defender, said he was approached by the club to apologise for calling out a fan who booed the team after they took a knee during the national anthem.
Canon has moved to Boavista, a Portuguese club, after receiving death threats and racist comments, following his recount of the event.