Rooney Rule needed at all levels of football, say Sunday Supplement panel
"We've got such a massive pool of black players. It's about trying to harness that talent and making sure those guys see a path into Premier League and FA boardrooms, into coaching and being a manager"
Last Updated: 14/06/20 5:22pm
The Sunday Supplement panel say the EFL's current Rooney Rule must be strengthened and a similar scheme used at boardroom levels through the Premier League to increase BAME representation.
With the Black Lives Matter movement putting anti-racism systems in focus, the Sunday Supplement panel discussed the current measures in place in football and what more the game can do to improve its diversity.
There are just six BAME managers working across the 91 league clubs in England. While the EFL introduced a ruling at the start of the season that clubs must interview a BAME candidate for a vacant role, there are loopholes, with that guideline only applying when there is a shortlist of interviewees.
Instead, clubs in the EFL and Premier League must now go further in how they provide opportunities for BAME managers - and also BAME executives at boardroom levels, say the Sunday Supplement panel.
"I think the Rooney Rule really has to be looked at and strengthened," said Mike McGrath, football writer at the Telegraph. "It's effectively a policy which is completely optional.
"It is something that is used if there is an interview process. There's nothing to stop a club not having an interview process, and a chairman just appointing his best mate if he wants to.
"The Rooney Rule should really be implanted properly across all 91 clubs and then also to have transparency, to have data to show who you've interviewed.
"The FA have had a very positive policy recently in having a BAME coach in every single age group for England, from U15s to Gareth Southgate's senior squad. I don't see why that can't be implemented for the 20 teams in the Premier League and possibly Championship. I don't think it would be a financial problem for that to happen.
"There are only 32 BAME coaches with the UEFA A licence. The LMA have said themselves they want coaches fast tracked for this qualification, to have more black coaches would mean a greater chance of getting a job. So that's absolutely vital as well - and could happen very easily."
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'Diversity makes clubs stronger'
Sami Mokbel, football news correspondent at the Daily Mail, agreed and argued clubs would be stronger, more robust organisations if they followed the meritocracy they have for the first-team squad in management and boardroom positions.
"I think the key to this is leadership and transparency," said Mokbel. "Football is a meritocracy. If you're a good player you're going to be in the starting XI. If you're not as good as the players in the starting XI then you're going to be on the bench, no matter your colour, creed or belief system.
"But at the higher end of the game - managerial level, board level - there is certainly scope to introduce something like the Rooney Rule.
"If you've got an ethnically diverse work system, surely that makes you stronger, that makes you ready for the contemporary world. I certainly think in newspapers we should be looking at that and football-wide I don't see why we shouldn't be introducing a system like the Rooney Rule.
"We've got such a massive pool of black players. The talent is there. It's about trying to harness that talent and making sure those guys see a path into Premier League and FA boardrooms, into coaching and being a manager. And it is about making sure those guys don't step away from the game. That will take leadership."
Clubs must reflect on how they deal with instances
Meanwhile, Rob Draper, chief football writer for the Mail on Sunday, believes senior figures in clubs should also scrutinise the way they have responded to accusations of racism against their own employees in the past.
"All the clubs will sign up for anti-racism campaigns and they'll all wear Black Lives Matter next week but when it comes to a player in their club accused of racism, you see the response and it can be quite different," he said.
"We saw how Liverpool reacted to Luis Suarez being accused of racism and I think Jamie Carragher apologised to Patrice Evra for his part in that. And I think on reflection many people in Liverpool say they called that very wrong.
"We all sign up for campaigns, and say racism is a bad thing but when it actually affects our life, or our player or our friend, we think 'they're quite a nice guy' and we don't think they're racist.
"Pep Guardiola defended Bernardo Silva's tweet earlier in the season and that was slightly problematic. I think most of us could see why the tweet was a problem and was offensive.
"I think what Pep was probably trying to say was, 'you don't know Bernardo Silva, he's not a racist'.
"When we get to these situations it needs a more nuanced system. The FA charge given to Bernardo Silva, is not saying you're a terrible racist, it says this caused offence.
"Then you'd like to see some reflection from Pep Guardiola and maybe Bernardo himself to say, 'I didn't mean to cause offence but I can see that might be offensive'.
"The rush is to defend your player - and of course the player deserves a fair hearing and a defence - but it's not always the right response."
- 64 live games on Sky Sports from provisional restart date of June 17
- 25 games to be made freely available
- New Sky Sports digital innovations also planned to enhance fan experience
The Premier League 2019/20 season will provisionally restart on Wednesday June 17 and Sky, the UK's leading football broadcaster, will make 25 games available 'free to air' - including Everton vs Liverpool on the first full weekend back - for everyone in the UK to enjoy.
Sky Sports will show 64 live Premier League games when the season resumes. In addition to the 39 matches already scheduled to be broadcast exclusively live on Sky Sports before the coronavirus interruption, 25 more matches will be available on both Sky Sports Premier League and Sky's free-to-air Pick channel, allowing the whole nation to be part of the return of live sport.
To celebrate the return of the Premier League, Sky Sports will also launch a host of innovative new features and updates to give fans an even more immersive experience and share the moments live with family and friends on virtual platforms.
Free-to-watch highlights of every remaining Premier League game this season will be available from shortly after the full-time whistle on the Sky Sports website, Sky Sports App and Sky Sports Football YouTube channel.