Football must be brave and consider Rooney Rule, says Sporting Equals chief executive
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 26/09/17 3:35pm
Football must give serious consideration to a full-scale implementation of the Rooney Rule in order to get ahead of the game in terms of diversity, according to the chief executive of Sporting Equals.
Pioneered by former Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, the Rooney Rule was introduced into the NFL in 2003 to help increase the number of ethnic minorities in coaching and senior operational positions.
In 2016, all 72 English Football League clubs signed up to a pilot scheme requiring them to interview at least one qualified Black Asian and Minority Ethnic [BAME] candidate for every academy coaching job, with 10 clubs extending that to the manager's position.
A third of all players that started on the opening day of the Premier League season were from BAME backgrounds. But despite their presence on the field, there are just three BAME managers - Chris Hughton, Keith Curle and Jimmy Floyd
Hasselbaink - across the 92 league clubs.
Appearing on Sky Sports News during National Inclusion Week, Sporting Equals chief executive Arun Kang called for football to be bold and lead the way on diversity in sport.
He said: "I think at the moment, what we, the sports sector needs to do, is to be braver and more creative. And I think what we need to do is explore the Rooney Rule.
"There is a target now in the new Governance Code [drawn up by UK Sport and Sport England] for females on boards and at some point there is going to be Black Asian and Ethnic Minority targets too.
"The sports sector needs to be ahead of the game and let's do this more organically than having a tick box exercise taking place. For me, sport needs to be a lot braver."
Statistics from the Football Association suggest there are nine Asian players in league football, which represents just 0.3 per cent of professional footballers in this country.
Kang thinks football clubs are not doing enough to tap into the talent pool within the Asian community, adding some coaches have prejudicial attitudes towards Asian players.
"One of the big problems we have is some of the scouts don't go and see these players at an early age," he said.
"There is also the perception among some coaches that South Asian players are not good enough. I was speaking to a mother recently - whose son has done very well and joined an academy now - but one of the coaches said to her 'your son isn't black enough'. And that was an Asian parent."
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