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posted by Morning Star in Sport

JUST 4.6 per cent of senior coaching positions at professional football clubs are held by people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, a report from the Sports People’s Think Tank (SPTT) revealed yesterday.

The think tank said the continued under-representation of BAME coaches enforced the need for a Rooney Rule for the English game.

Loughborough University’s Dr Steven Bradbury found that, as of September 1, just 22 out of 482 (4.6 per cent) of senior coaching positions at professional clubs are filled by BAME coaches.

And nine of those were at just four clubs — Brighton and Hove Albion, Crystal Palace, Reading, and Queens Park Rangers.

There were only four black managers in the 92 professional clubs in England, despite more than 25 per cent of players coming from BAME backgrounds.

Former footballer Michael Johnson, an SPTT board member, said: “The under-representation of BAME coaches is a problem that the game has been talking about for some time now. 

“However, the actions that have followed haven’t made the impact needed. We need a game-changing solution and for the SPTT and the sports people involved in our work that is a mandatory version of the Rooney Rule.

Jeremi Duru, a leading lawyer behind the NFL Rooney Rule, said: “The Rooney Rule has definitely helped to diversify the ranks of head coaches and general managers in the NFL, but it wasn’t always clear that it would.

“Early in the rule’s implementation, when no penalty was attached, most clubs clearly did not take the rule seriously. When the league attached a monetary penalty for failure to comply, things changed quickly.

“That’s when we saw the number of legitimate interviews of minority candidates increasing and diversity in hiring followed.  For the Rooney Rule concept to be effective in English football, it must have teeth.”

And Football Against Racism in Europe’s Piara Powar added: “Year after year data shows the same thing, that ethnic minorities are being squeezed out of football coaching across professional football despite being highly qualified and job-ready. How long can this scenario continue?’

“We urge English football to have the courage and take the lead across Europe and implement a Rooney Rule type of mechanism across the game.”

Sociology of sport lecturer Dr Bradbury warned that, “without positive actions of this kind, claims as to the inclusivity of the sport, will, quite simply, remain hollow and redundant.”