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Stormzy announces football diversity programme, BBC announces special programming around new album

By | Published on Thursday 3 November 2022


Stormzy has announced this morning that he’s teaming up with Adidas to launch a football focused work placement programme called #Merky FC. It will offer young people of black heritage the opportunity to get experience of working in football industry roles off the pitch, in a bid to improve diversity on that side of the sport.

Although 39% of roles on the pitch are taken up by players with black or mixed black heritage, behind the scenes only 6.7% of senior roles are, according to research carried out by Adidas and the FARE Network. #Merky FC aims to change that by offering paid work placements to black people aged between eighteen and 24 years old.

Various companies and organisations within and beyond the football sector are supporting the scheme, including Manchester United, Fulham FC, UEFA, Sky, LADbible, Footballco, Versus, KSS and Warner Music.

“Just 6.7% of senior roles in football are taken by someone who identifies as black or mixed black heritage”, says Stormzy. “We barely see any black team managers, coaches, sports presenters, assistants, ops managers, sales managers, accountants, marketing managers or physiotherapists – the list goes on, nor are many of us even aware of the vast roles available within the football industry. Through the #Merky FC initiative we hope to inspire real change within this field as part of my wider commitment to support racial equality in the UK”.

“With the support of Adidas and the additional ten partners, we will be in a position to aid the people who may have experienced disadvantages during their football career pathway”, he continues. “We strongly encourage other companies to join us in our mission”.

A spokesperson for Adidas adds: “We are passionate about providing inclusive opportunities to young talent in the UK. We are proud to be working in partnership with Stormzy to introduce #Merky FC, an initiative that directly tackles some of the biggest barriers facing UK youth in football today, by creating a legacy of career opportunities off the pitch alongside the other partners”.

“Along with the support of our network of Adidas partners”, the spokesperson continues, “we are committed to fighting for equal representation in football, and this launch is only the beginning for #Merky FC. Watch this space”.

The programme will begin offering work placements in January. To apply, go to

Now, can you handle more Stormzy news? Don’t answer that, I don’t care. I’m giving it to you anyway. The BBC has announced a series of special programming across TV and radio to mark the release of Stormzy’s new album, ‘This Is What I Mean’, later this month.

BBC One will air a show called ‘A Stormzy Special’, filmed at Abbey Road Studios, which will include live performances of various songs and an interview with the rapper by Trevor Nelson.

“I first interviewed Stormzy in 2014 for his debut ‘Live Lounge’ at 1Xtra and I haven’t interviewed him since then”, says Nelson. “When I met him he was the hottest new MC in the UK and now he has become a cultural icon. I’m really looking forward to hosting this show and to being able to chat to him once again”.

That will be broadcast at 10.40pm on 15 Nov. By that time, you will also have been able to hear a load of Stormzy content on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 and BBC 1Xtra earlier the same day.

At 8.10am, Greg James will have the world exclusive first play of the rapper’s new single on the ‘Radio 1 Breakfast’ show. If you flick between that and ‘The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show’ on Radio 2 and ‘1Xtra Breakfast’ with Nadia Jae, you’ll also get to hear some live performances recorded exclusively for the BBC.

Is that it though? No, it’s not. Switch back to Radio 1 at 7pm and you’ll hear Clara Amfo interviewing the rapper on her ‘Future Sounds’ show, as well as five more live tracks recorded at Abbey Road.

“It was great to have this special conversation with Stormzy for ‘Future Sounds’, his artistic evolution has been a joy to watch but more importantly listen to”, says Amfo. “Consistently honest, funny and charming, I’m excited for our listeners to learn about this new part of his career journey”.

‘This Is What I Mean’ is out on 25 Nov.