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Discrimination against minorities still "rife" in football

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English football is still suffering from “institutional discrimination”, according to a report commissioned by equality pressure group, the Sports Person's Think Tank (SPTT).

The report – Ethnic minorities and coaching in elite level football in England: A call to action – shows that there are only 19 black and ethnic minority (BME) coaches in the 552 top coaching positions at professional English clubs.

Only two out of the 92 professional football clubs in England currently have managers from a BME background – Chris Powell at Huddersfield Town and Keith Curle at Carlisle United.

This means that BME coaches take up just 3.4 per cent of top coaching roles in English football – despite more than 25 per cent of players coming from BME backgrounds.

The research pinpoints four inter-related themes for the under-representation – one which was a “conscious and unconscious racial bias and stereotypes in the coaching workplace”.

Other issues highlighted by the report include limited access to high level coach education courses; over-reliance on ‘networks based’ methods of coach recruitment; and consequent lack of BME coach role models.

The subject of under-representation has also raised the issue of bringing in ‘a Rooney Rule’, created in the United States by the National Football League (NFL), that requires teams to interview at least one BME candidate for a head coach position once there is a vacancy.

The report was authored by Dr Steven Bradbury, a lecturer at Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences.

Bradbury said: “In the English context, the headline findings present a stark picture of the lack of BME coaches at clubs and the overwhelmingly white landscape of the professional club coaching workforce.

“This is especially disappointing given the longstanding contribution of BME players and their efforts to make the transition from playing to coaching in the professional game.

The report's publication on 10 November coincided with the launch of SPTT, which aims to address the lack of coaches from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups working for professional football clubs in England.

To download and read the full report, click here.

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English football is still suffering from "institutional discrimination", according to a report commissioned by equality pressure group, the Sports Person's Think Tank (SPTT).


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