Taking the initiative in the battle for equality in football, predominantly away from the pitch, Stormzy and adidas have come together to create #Merky FC – a careers programme committed to enhancing and protecting diverse representation in the football industry.

The dream of becoming a professional footballer is not one that is specific to any racial stereotype. Instead it is a dream that is shared by any who have a passion for the sport, and yet it is only achieved by a small percentage. Beyond actually playing, there are other avenues to pursue when it comes to football aside from playing, but it is here that there’s a startling disparity between races, with just 6.7 percent of senior roles in football taken by someone who identifies as Black or mixed Black heritage. And that’s where #MerkyFC comes into play.

Created by Stormzy and adidas, #Merky FC is a new movement that will affect change across the industry by addressing the lack of diversity off the pitch in football and providing access to a host of multi-year, paid professional placements across the industry. The initiative combines adidas’s football leadership with Stormzy’s experience in creating equality in education and the workplace for young people of Black heritage.

#Merky FC will provide access to UK based football career opportunities and mentoring, with adidas and 10 industry-leading brands providing work placements within their businesses, in a bid to change the game. #Merky FC is open to all, however applications are specifically encouraged from candidates aged 18-24 who identify as Black or mixed Black heritage.

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Both Stormzy and adidas have brought together 10 leading brands, including the likes of Manchester United, Fulham FC and Sky Sports to form part of the careers programme that will commence in January 2023, each providing work placements from operations and community to creative and marketing within their businesses, in a bid to change the game.

Speaking about Merky FC, Stormzy 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. Through the #Merky FC initiative we hope to inspire real change within this field as part of my wider commitment to support racial equality in the UK.

With the support of adidas and the additional 10 partners, we will be in a position to aid the people who may have experienced disadvantages during their football career pathway. We strongly encourage other companies to join us in our mission.”

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A spokesperson from Adidas followed up by saying: “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 #Merky FC, 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 equal representation in football, and this launch is only the beginning for #Merky FC. Watch this space.” 

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Candidates can visit merkyfc.com to find out more and register their interest in the placements available, ahead of the nationwide application process commencing from today, 3 November.