Premier League, PFA and EFL announce BAME coach placement scheme

The scheme will provide up to six coaches per season with a 23-month intensive work placement within EFL clubs

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A placement scheme has been set up with a view to improving the representation of individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds in the coaching ranks

The Premier League, PFA and EFL have launched a new scheme aimed at increasing the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) players transitioning into full-time coaching roles in the professional game.

The scheme, open to BAME PFA members at any age or stage of their careers, will provide up to six coaches per season with a 23-month intensive work placement within EFL clubs.

The Premier League and PFA have jointly funded the programme which will have its first intake run as a pilot scheme - either in the club's academy or first-team set-up - from the start of the 2020-21 season.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: "It is vital that there are no barriers to entry to the pipelines for employment in coaching. We need more BAME coaches entering the system to create greater opportunities throughout the professional game.

"We hope this scheme will create clear pathways and substantially improve future employment prospects for BAME coaches."

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The lack of representation of black people in leadership positions in football has been in the spotlight because of the increased focus worldwide on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Earlier this month, Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling questioned why so few black ex-players have made the transition into coaching or other positions of power within football clubs.

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The PFA's coaching team will provide mentoring, while Doncaster Rovers manager Darren Moore is chair of the Premier League's Black Participants' Advisory Group, which will also offer support to the players and clubs involved in the programme.

Darren Moore manager of Doncaster Rovers looks on during the Pre-Season Friendly between Doncaster Rovers and Huddersfield Town at Keepmoat Stadium on July 24, 2019 in Doncaster, England 0:46
Darren Moore, Premier League Black Participants’ Advisory Group Chair, says the new BAME coach placement scheme represents a 'positive step'

Moore said: "This is a critical time for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic coaches. We all know and agree that the diversity of coaches and managers must increase and this placement scheme represents a positive step."

Participants, who are provided bursaries through the placement club, will work across a variety of football functions within the club.

The scheme, which has been developed over the last 18 months, is in addition to the Premier League's existing BAME coach development programme - the Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said: "The PFA is proud to support a diverse membership on the pitch, and we are determined to ensure this also translates to substantial BAME representation in all other areas of the game."

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PFA regional coach Iffy Onuora says more than a year of hard work has gone into making the new BAME coach placement scheme possible

Sporting Equals wants greater awareness of Rooney Rule

Meanwhile, leading equality charity Sporting Equals is launching a campaign this week to raise awareness of the Rooney Rule.

The Rule, which was named after the NFL diversity committee chairman Dan Rooney, is designed to promote diversity by requiring clubs to interview ethnic minority candidates.

The EFL made it policy last year that clubs must interview at least one BAME candidate when searching for a new first-team manager - but the Premier League is yet to introduce a similar policy.

Sporting Equals, which promotes diversity and inclusion, wants a BAME candidate interviewed for coaching and administrative positions across all sport.

Sporting Equals chief executive Arun Kang has told Sky Sports News change must come from the top down

The organisation's chief executive Arun Kang told Sky Sports News change has to come from the top down.

"If we don't have that representation you don't have the knowledge and expertise or even empathy on what the challenges these communities are facing because some of the challenges are very different to other communities," he said.

"So South Asians a lot of the time, and we've been doing some surveys on this, a lot of South Asian communities are saying that the coaches have a perception that they can't play football.

"Recently a parent spoke to me about their child who was released from an academy and was told by the coach that he's a great footballer but said I'm not putting my career on the line for a South Asian footballer because they've never made it.

So this is the sort of perception we need to work against and if we don't have diversity within our coaches and across the workforce to understand the challenges facing these communities, then these perceptions are going to carry on."

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