The report, Ethnic Minorities in Coaching in Elite Level Football, published by the Fare network in conjunction with the Sports People’s Think Tank (SPTT) has found that only 19 ethnic minority coaches are employed in 552 positions across 92 professional clubs, just 3.4% of the roles available.
Figures contrast with percentages of players
The research data and analysis produced by Dr. Steven Bradbury of Loughborough University, a leading expert in the field, cites institutional discrimination, the lack of open recruitment procedures and the negative experiences of ethnic minorities on coaching courses among the factors that are blocking the progress of ethnic minorities.
The figures contrast starkly with the number of minority players who form up to 30% of professional footballers in England.
Among the six recommendations made in the report is the need for English football to set a target of 20% of coaches to come from ethnic minority communities by 2020; a positive action programme to help fair recruitment, similar to the ‘Rooney Rule’ in the US; a diversity plan to tackle the under-representation of ethnic minorities in administrative positions; and methods to overcome ‘closed networks’.
The report is being launched in the UK parliament this evening, as part of the launch of the SPTT, a new group formed by professional footballers led by former international striker Jason Roberts.
Roberts said, ”It appears that football has lost successive generations of potential coaches and managers simply because they are black or from other ethnic minority backgrounds. So many players from our communities have achieved so much on the field of play, yet so few have been given opportunities to achieve as coaches.”
“There is so much diversity among the playing squads at English clubs that to extend it to coaching staff will inform and improve coaching methods. This in turn will help the development of players and their on-field performance.
“Business consultants refer to the performance gains that can be made through management insight. In elite level football a few percentage points of performance gain means matches won, which can mean promotion, medals, prize money, sponsorship, financial stability and glory.”
Piara Powar, the Executive Director of the Fare network said, “We are very familiar with seeing black and other ethnic minorities as professional players but coaches from those communities are rare. This new data shows a level of exclusion that urgently needs to be addressed through creative thinking and new measures.
“If the English football authorities can address the concerns we have and move to a system that is both fair and helps performance management, football will begin to change the way it recruits coaches across the world.”