The three-tiered Standard, which was launched in March 2009, helps football clubs to recognise existing partnerships, activities, and projects they deliver to under-represented groups and individuals, which as well as helping clubs engage better with their communities, helps identify target markets and fans for the future.
It encompasses all areas of diversity and aims to ensure that individuals are not discriminated against on the grounds of age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion/belief and sexual orientation. The accolade acknowledges the progression made by the club since achieving the Preliminary Level of the Equality Standard in June 2011.
Blues were monitored in their building of relationships with local under-represented communities and had to present demonstrable evidence of the implementation of their equal opportunities olicy and deliver appropriate training to all staff, including manager Gary Rowett and his coaching staff.
Blues are now the only Football League club to hold a current Intermediate Level, while in the Premier League, six teams hold the Intermediate or Advanced Levels of the Equality Standard.
Throughout the past year the club has taken great pleasure in the work and projects that helped secure the award from Kick It Out.
Among these, Birmingham City consulted with some of its Asian supporters at a special get-together and provided fitness sessions for disabled supporters.
Further, Blues have backed LGBT-friendly football club Birmingham Blaze and the opening St. Andrew’s game of the 2015/16 season will be dedicated to the work of Kick It Out as the organisation aims to make football a more inclusive place for all.
Rishi Jain, Kick It Out’s Football League Development Officer said: “It’s really pleasing to be able to recognise the hard work a club does behind the scenes in advancing equality.
“Working with the staff at Birmingham City, it’s clear to see that equality and inclusion are integral to everything that happens at the club.
“With Birmingham being the only Football League club to hold the current Intermediate level, we hope this award will spur other clubs to achieve the Equality Standard too. Everyone at Kick It Out is looking forward to working with professional clubs next season.”