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Volume 23 No. 13
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Report shows drop in gender hiring practices at MLS

Major League Soccer saw an uptick in its racial hiring practices in 2019 but the league also saw a substantial drop in gender hiring practices, according to the latest data compiled by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.

The 2019 MLS Racial and Gender Report Card, compiled by the institute known as TIDES, gave MLS an A for racial hiring practices, the same as last year, and a C for gender hiring, down from a C+ in 2018. TIDES gave the league an overall grade of a B in 2019, down from a B+ in 2018.

On the racial hiring front, MLS earned 93.9 points this year, up from 92.5 points in 2018. However, the league’s gender hiring grade fell this year to 72 points from 76.8 points in 2018, marking three consecutive years of decline. For gender hiring practices, which continue to lag behind the success of racial hiring in the league, MLS received a B for league office employees, down from a B+ grade in last year’s report.

MLS scored 81 points for gender hiring as recently as 2016, with a nearly 10-point decline over the past three years. The declines in gender hiring practices in MLS are consistent throughout all of professional sports, said Richard Lapchick, the primary author of the report and director of TIDES.

The league saw its overall score drop to 82.9 points this year compared to 85 points in last year’s report.

“The red light is that in every case, gender hiring has gone down and it has been going down for the past multiple years,” Lapchick said. “This is a systemic issue that covers all of sports. We need to pay more attention.”

Like last year, MLS earned an A+ for racial hiring practices for league office personnel.

“Major League Soccer has a long-standing commitment to hiring and retaining employees that reflect a multicultural workforce,” said JoAnn Neale, MLS president and chief administrative officer. “While the league is heavily focused on diversity and inclusion, we know there is still more work that can be done. We remain determined to recruit a diversity of thought across all aspects of our business to bring innovative ideas to the organization and to continue to build an inclusive workplace.”