Football League clubs across the country have successfully completed the first year of a ground-breaking pilot that sets standards for equality in professional football.
The Football League's Code of Practice was introduced as part of a commitment to English football's Inclusion & Anti-Discrimination Action
Plan which ensures clubs are inclusive across all sections of their business. This incorporates match day operations, general operations, community trust, youth development, fans and the first team.
At the end of year one, nine clubs (below) in The Football League have been assessed as meeting the Code of Practice foundation level, setting the benchmark for others to follow.
• Bolton Wanderers
• Blackburn Rovers
• Sheffield United
• Peterborough United
• Southend United
• Crewe Alexandra
• Exeter City
Each club successfully passed an independent assessment across 12 areas of operation ensuring good practice extends to all employees, spectators and other people engaged with the club.
The Code of Practice embeds inclusion and equality throughout the whole club, setting accountability at the highest level.
In phase two, the nine clubs that have reached the Code of Practice foundation level will become mentors to a further 30 Football League clubs that will be assessed in 2016.
United's Training and Development Manager Sue Beeley commented: "We are delighted that we are amongst the first group of Football League Clubs to have achieved the Code of Practice standard.
"It is very much a whole Club effort with all sections of the Club contributing to our submission.
"The Code of Practice gives recognition to our ongoing commitment to equality and inclusion. Our designated games for Kick it Out and Level Playing Field will remain part of our work and we will to continue to review our procedures and practices and deliver training to our staff as part of our good practice."
Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of The Football League said:
"The Football League is dedicated to ensuring that football is inclusive of all communities and free from discrimination.
"We recognise that great strides have been made in this area but there is still more to do. Further uptake of the Code of Practice in 2016 will ensure individuals, clubs and the League as a whole benefit from increased inclusion."