The End Violence Against Women Coalition, The Three Hijabis and Level Up are today celebrating victory as the Premier League announces its players are to receive mandatory training on sexual consent. After a sustained campaign, the Premier League and Football Association have introduced new rules for players.
The 2022 football season brings the promise of positive change, as the Premier League announce that all players are to receive mandatory sexual consent training. This follows specific requests from expert gender-based violence campaign groups Level Up, The Three Hjiabis and End Violence Against Women Coalition.
Mandatory consent training for all players was the first of four clear action points in our open letter sent to the Premier League and FA in February 2022:
- Introduce mandatory training for all players, managers, coaches and owners on gender-based violence.
- Introduce a Tackling Gender-Based Violence Charter for clubs to sign up to that sets out minimum standards for policies and action to tackle unacceptable behaviour.
- To adopt clear sexual misconduct policies and protocols with the power to impose appropriate consequences and disciplinary action on players, from suspension without pay to lifetime bans.
- For Academies to introduce prevention programmes for young people that take a “Whole Club Approach” to eliminating violence against women in football.
The groups met with Premier League officials in March, and again in June, to discuss how the action points can be implemented. However, the groups say the FA have not engaged with them since February 2022, and the remaining action points have not yet been implemented.
In the past year, several top-flight players have been arrested on suspicion of rape, with several still awaiting trial. In 2021, Level Up flew a plane banner over a Manchester United game to “protest the silence around sexual violence” and unresolved rape allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo.
We stand in solidarity with all survivors, who are so often silenced and dismissed – not least within an industry where power, wealth and status are so substantially stacked against them.
Level Up co-director Seyi Falodun-Liburd said:
“This is a defining moment for football. The Premier League are finally beginning to recognise the enormous influence that this sport has on our culture and our individual behaviours. We want to see all the actions from our open letter implemented, particularly consequences and disciplinary actions for players who harm women, but this is an encouraging start. Hopefully, this move will provide a good example for the FA who still refuse to engage with us”
Three Hjiabis co-director Shaista Aziz said:
“Football belongs to all of us. We football fans are a powerful community of people. We understand the transformative force of football to make change on and off the pitch. We’re pleased the Premier League is listening and responding to our campaign and understands the urgency to tackle misogyny and gender based violence across the game. We need the FA to show the same transparent commitment and action change. The Lionesses historic win and legacy deserves nothing less.”
End Violence Against Women Coalition director Andrea Simon said:
“Gender-based violence is a pervasive and systemic issue that must be addressed across the football industry as a whole, with urgent and coordinated action. Today’s announcement is a long overdue and important first step in the right direction.
We now call on football clubs to show which side they’re on when it comes to violence against women by demonstrating transparency, accountability and long-term commitment to implementing these actions.
What better legacy for the Lionesses’ historic win than uniting us all in meaningful action to transform football’s culture?”
Sinead Geoghegan, EVAW: firstname.lastname@example.org 07960 744 502
Janey Starling, Seyi Falodun-Liburd, Level Up: Media@welevelup.org
Amna Abdullatif, Shaista Aziz and Huda Jawad, The Three Hijabis: email@example.com