Rooney Rule: Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says there is no plan to introduce scheme
Premier League returns on Wednesday with Aston Villa vs Sheffield United live on Sky Sports, followed by Manchester City vs Arsenal
By Bryan Swanson and Husmukh Kerai
Last Updated: 16/06/20 9:53pm
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says there is no plan to introduce the Rooney Rule but diversity targets are being considered.
With the Black Lives Matter movement putting anti-racism systems in focus, The Sunday Supplement panel have been among those calling for a strengthened version of the EFL's Rooney Rule to be introduced into the top-flight, with a similar scheme at boardroom levels to increase BAME representation.
- Premier League restart: Every club assessed
- Premier League restart: Essential reading
- Premier League restart: How to watch it all
The EFL's current Rooney Rule, a policy originating in the NFL, requires that that clubs must interview at least one BAME candidate for vacant manager's jobs, with that guideline only applying when there is a shortlist of interviewees.
"Lots of organisations have diversity targets, we will consider them, and there's going to be an ongoing dialogue with clubs about discrimination generally," Masters told Sky Sports News.
"We clearly need more BAME coaches, more black coaches, entering the system at the bottom which will create a greater pool, and a greater opportunity, at the higher levels of the pyramid."
On the Rooney Rule, he added: "So far, we haven't discussed it, it hasn't been a topic of discussion and we have no plans to put it back on the agenda. I think there are discussions to be had but no current plans to put that back on the agenda."
'Messages on undergarments allowed, booking for shirt removal'
After throwing his support behind footballers who use their platforms to support good causes such as the Black Lives Matter movement, Masters confirmed referees won't be booking players for having anti-racism messages on their undergarments - although players will still be booked for removing their shirts.
"The referees won't be booking players for having anti-racism messages on their undergarments, if they choose to do so.
"We've talked to the players, and other messages are going to be on there, but if they do remove their shirt, a booking will still apply."
'PL will act as 'guinea pigs' for fan/stadia experiments'
The Premier League is active in discussions alongside the government, other sports and key working groups about how and when fans might be allowed back in stadiums.
Masters has offered to act as 'guinea pigs' in any experiments for fans in stadia when safe to do so.
"Obviously it is going to be an odd experience without fans at the stadia. We are going to start to witness it from tomorrow evening and the Premier League won't be back with a capital B until fans are back.
"I think this particular topic, it would be wrong for me to start making predictions about when fans might be allowed back in the stadium and on what basis, whether it's phased or otherwise. Those discussions have started across sport and we are active participants in them.
"We are willing to offer our experiences, and club perspective, to act as guinea pigs, I guess, if that's the right phase, for any particular experiments. We're very happy to do all of that, but I think it would be wrong at the moment to start talking about when. But, obviously, as far as we're concerned, the clubs are concerned, we would like it to happen as soon as it's safe and appropriate to do so."
'PL confident over regular promotion and relegation'
Masters revealed that clubs have still not entertained the thought of discussing curtailment of the season and only will do so if it became apparent Project Restart had to be suspended.
With the competition set to resume on Wednesday, Masters says the league is confident of finishing alongside the Sky Bet Championship.
"All the focus has been on completing the season and we decided a couple of weeks ago to only discuss curtailment if it became apparent it was going to happen, so there is no point in me speculating what would happen at that stage.
"Right now we're on the eve of the Premier League restarting, we've got confidence about it finishing. The Championship is starting at the weekend, so I see no reason why we can't complete both seasons and for promotion and relegation to take place as normal and to do it that way.
"The Football League are in a different situation with League One and League Two curtailing - they have had to confront the issue. We have decided to delay those discussions. There is no point in me speculating what those discussions might entail."
'Clubs to discuss complicated 2020/21 start date from next week'
Masters says planning for the start of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign remains a looming issue and he remains reluctant to discuss a date because of the number of variable factors which could cause a delay.
"The start of next season is a complicated issue and is one of the topics we're going to come to next.
"We have clubs still left in the FA Cup, still left in Europe and they have to complete those competitions if at all possible and we have an international round of matches looming in September.
"So precisely when the Premier League is able to begin - it also depends to some extent on when the Championship can finish - all those things need to be taken into account. I wouldn't want to give a date today about when I think it's most appropriate for when the Premier League should begin in 2020/21 when we haven't yet restarted the competition. But it's one of the looming issues."
Watch the Premier League with Sky Sports
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.
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.