1883 - Arthur Wharton - first known Black Male Footballer
1895 - Emma Clarke - first known Black Female Footballer
2022 - Unity in Football - Partnering for change

1883 - 1993


Arthur Wharton moved to Darlington, England from his home Ghana where he began his amazing sporting career which included him becoming the first black professional footballer. arthurwhartonfoundation.org

1876 - 1905

Emma Clarke Britain’s first known black footballer female footballer was first described by the South Wales Daily News as “the fleet footed dark girl on the right wing.”


Jack Leslie first black player called up to play for England but, at a time without social media and the ability to see someone’s photo, his name “mysteriously disappeared from the team sheet, seemingly because of the colour of his skin.”


Tony Collins is English professional football's first black manager (Rochdale), until Keith Alexander in 1993.


West Bromwich Albion was the first club to field three black players. Their Manager Ron Atkinson gave them their chance.


1982: Viv Anderson becomes the first black footballer to make it into a World Cup squad for England. Jack Leslie would have been the first black person to play for the nation having been selected in 1925 but was dropped from the England team when it was discovered he was black.


John Barnes becomes the first black footballer to play in a major tournament for England. He comes on in the World Cup quarter-final against Argentina


Percentage of Black Players in the EPL doubled to 16%.


Paul Ince becomes the first black footballer to captain England, one of now 7 black captains - Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Chris Smalling, Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling.

1998 - 2009


Hope Powell first female and Black manager of any England national team.


For the first time ever, there were more black players on the pitch than white, representing England’s national team - arguably a revolution in British football.


Ashley Cole becomes the first black footballer to reach 100 appearances for England.


Arrigo Sacchi says too many black players in Italian youth team over concerns Italy is ‘losing our national pride & identity.’


Sports People’s Think Tank says only 23 out of 552 elite coaches are BME, 4% of the roles, when 25% of the players are BME.


Footballers boycott social media over racist abuse for 24 hours, saying t-shirts and social media outrage are not enough.


Kick it Out sees 53% increase in racial discrimination over the 2019/2020 season.


Government calls on the FA to bring in black coaches

2019 - Oct

Haringey Borough players walk off pitch after racist abuse as FA Cup match with Yeovil Town is abandoned.

2019 - 2021

2019 - Oct

Racist abuse of England players by Bulgarian fans leads to stadium ban.

2020 - Oct

FA launches Leadership Diversity Code - voluntary, no timelines or enforcement powers.

2020 - Oct

"Project Big Picture" plan by some clubs, stakeholders and the EFL to reshape the game.

2020 - Nov

FA Chairman resigns after remark about black players.

2020 - Dec

December - PSG-Istanbul Basaksehir players leave the pitch after coach allegedly racially abused by the fourth official

2020 - Dec

Stacey Cartwright resigns as FA Independent director

2021 - Mar

PFA appoint Maheta Molango as CEO, replacing Gordon Taylor.

2021 - April

Government launches Fans-led review of football governance (aka Crouch Review)

2021 - Apr

Valencia walk off pitch after alleged racism in Cadiz match

2021 - Jul

Black players angrily and viscerally racially abused and targeted on social media and other platforms for penalty misses, after England was defeated by Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

2021 - Jul

YouGov survey reveals one in three people who did not think racism was a problem now do so following Euro 2020.

2021 - Sep

After England players were booed by Hungary fans for taking the knee, black players were racially targeted throughout the game in Budapest. Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham in particular.

Les Ferdinand

Director of football at Queens Park Rangers

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