stormzy-launches-his-own-football-team-to-fight-lack-of-diversity-in-the-game

Stormzy has launched his own football team in a bid to combat a lack of diversity in the sport, particularly the shortage of representation in senior positions.

The popular rapper has unveiled Merky FC in collaboration with his major sponsors Adidas and his beloved club Manchester United.

Despite 43 per cent of professional footballers being black or mixed race, new figures conducted by FARE Network show just 6.7 per cent of senior roles in the sport are taken by people from that heritage.

Stormzy, rightly so, has called these stats “embarrassing” and has vouched to address it by forming his own initiative.

“The statistics are shocking. I think it’s down to visibility a lot,” Stormzy told Sky Sports News.

“Even growing up we didn’t see any black managers, black people on our screens in the media.

“So I think when Ian Wright comes along, Thierry Henry comes along, we know we can kick ball – we’ve always known we can kick ball – but in terms of the roles and the other positions in the industry we don’t see our representation, and representation is important.

“When you can’t see it, it’s not always easy to believe it.”

With the overall goal of driving inclusivity and pushing for more diverse representation, the British fan favourite has teamed up with Adidas as well as a bunch of other brands in the hope of providing opportunities in the industry.

A statement on Manchester United’s official website reads: “The movement is committed to enhancing and protecting diverse representation in football, by providing a multitude of UK-based football career opportunities for young people of Black heritage.

“Those aged between 18 and 25 will be able to apply for the nationwide programme from 4 November, with Manchester United being one of the partners who will be part of the careers programme.

“In addition to support, the 10 leading brands, also including the likes of Sky Sports, LADbible and fellow Premier League side Fulham FC, have pledged entry-level roles within their business.”

Stormzy pictured with former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba. Credit: AlamyOver half of Black British youth admit that they have faced some form of discrimination when applying for white collar jobs.

Speaking directly about these damning statistics, Stormzy said: “I don’t think it is anything short of embarrassing.

“If you can see that representation on the pitch with all the players, then it should at least be backed up by people in positions of power, positions of influence outside of being an actual footballer.

“Hopefully with what we’re doing we can drive a change.”

Adidas added: “We are passionate about providing inclusive opportunities to young talent in the UK. We are proud to be working in partnership with Stormzy to introduce #MERKYFC, an initiative that directly tackles some of the biggest barriers facing UK youth in football today, by creating a legacy of career opportunities off the pitch alongside the other partners. Along with the support of our network of adidas partners, we are committed to fighting for racial equality in football, and this launch is only the beginning for #MERKYFC. Watch this space.”