Steve Atkins, director of communications at Chelsea, said: ‘We are determined that football should reflect the communities we serve and this latest initiative will increase the opportunities for people who love writing about sport, not just playing or coaching it.
‘It is important to everyone at this club that we use our prominent position in world sports to lead the way in promoting equality and diversity. Raising awareness of the issues around media representation and inclusion is an important strand of the club’s wider No To Hate programme, a programme we believe will make a real and tangible difference to our club, our communities and the football industry as a whole.’
Leon Mann MBE, the founder of BCOMS, added: ‘BCOMS has been on a mission to diversify the sports media for more than a decade and we have seen some progress in that time – however, there is a long way to go in achieving this goal. This initiative with the Chelsea FC Foundation is about impact and positive change, and will genuinely be life-changing for the successful applicants. We are delighted to be working with the club on this.’
Launched in March 2021, the No To Hate programme was established following the racist abuse sent to Reece James and other Chelsea players on social media, expanding and amplifying Chelsea’s existing equality campaigns. The initiative has been developed to tackle discrimination through educational initiatives, providing opportunities to increase diversity within the football industry as well as celebrating Chelsea’s own diversity on and off the pitch.