Kick it Out's Troy Townsend believes 'Rooney Rule' won't help in UK
By Shona Duthie
Last Updated: 23/10/18 10:25am
Kick It Out's Troy Townsend believes the 'Rooney Rule' implemented in the NFL will not help in the UK.
The 'Rooney Rule' is a policy that requires the NFL's 32 teams to interview BAME candidates for head coaching and senior operation roles.
It was named after Dan Rooney, former owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and established in 2003 following the firings of head coaches Tony Dungy and Dennis Green by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings respectively the previous year.
But Townsend thinks any policy would not work unless there were changes higher up the recruitment ladder.
"I have always said, until we change the hirers and firers, until we change the people that make these important decisions, until we make them more reflective of the game, the people that play game, the society the way it is now, I think we are always going to be in the same position we are now," Townsend said at an event for Black History Month in Britain at Crystal Palace.
"If we change the influencers, make the influencers more diverse, make them have a different thought process and a different opinion.
"Until we do that, I don't care what process we put in place, I think we are going to struggle to really show a reflective nature on a management level and a higher level."
Townsend, father to Crystal Palace footballer Andros, also feels more needs to be done to get current BAME players into coaching.
"The biggest worry for me is that we lose another generation," Townsend added. "There are some good players coaching around the same age as Chris Ramsay and Paul Nevin who are not getting the opportunity.
"They have been knocking on the door for quite a long time and they don't get it. Every time you see another coach, who has probably had the same journey as you, get a top job straight away, whether it may be it knocks your confidence.
"Now, I don't care what anyone tells me. That knocks your confidence because you believe you are as good as them.
"So why are you not afforded the same opportunities as they are? Unfortunately there are far too many stories of some of our ex-players just trying to get into an academy position.
"And again they are not afforded that opportunity. Somewhere along the line, football is going to have to ask itself some difficult questions.
"Then put things in place to answer those questions. But football needs to be genuine with itself about the opportunities there are for BAME coaches."