Black History Month – Beyond Taking the Knee

Thursday 28 October 2021

An interactive seminar addressing topics including race equality and discrimination in football from grassroots to the professional game.


To look at the actions needed to address race equality and discrimination in football from grassroots to the Professional game beyond ‘Taking in the knee’. The interactive seminar with leading equality practitioners provides an open platform for society and football to examine concrete ways to ensure the challenge against racism in all parts of football culture and practice, particularly in the area of safeguarding and mental health raised by the death of ex-professional footballer, Dalian Atkinson.

The aim is to celebrate a memorial to the life and achievements of ex-Aston Villa Player, Dalian Atkinson, and to look at the changes in mental health needed in and outside of sport addressed by Doctor Michael Bennett, paper to the Lancet Psychiatry.


Simone Pound. Senior Equality Director. PFA

Doctor Michael Bennett. Director of Player Welfare.

Iffy Onuora. Premier League Head of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Leigh O’Connor. CEO Middlesex FA

Doctor Colin King. MBE. Chair of Middlesex FA IAG.

Danny Lynch. Senior Publicity Manager. Irish FA.

Kevin Coleman. Senior Equality Manager, Brentford Football Club

Steve Smithies. Former FA National Coach Development Lead for Diversity and Inclusion


– To discuss the effectiveness of current practices (Beyond taking the Knee) that address the interconnected issues of racism and other equality issues.

– To debate what alternatives from grassroots to the Professional game should be taken to should to show a new approach to taking the knee

– To address within the MFA current equality plans the changes needed with it structures to support race equality action within playing, clubs, coaching, refereeing to the level of governances.

– To plan a memorial to the life and times of Dalian Atkinson.

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