Birmingham, Oldham, Gillingham and Chesterfield implement Rooney Rule in manager search

General of St Andrews before the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Newcastle United on March 18, 2017
Image: Birmingham have implemented the Rooney Rule in their manager search

Birmingham, Oldham, Gillingham and Chesterfield have implemented the Rooney Rule as part of their managerial recruitment process, Sky Sports News can reveal.

The four clubs, who are currently looking for a new manager, have, or will, interview at least one candidate from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background. Sky sources understand former Chesterfield striker Jack Lester is set to make a return to the club as manager.

The Rooney Rule was pioneered by former Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, and was introduced into the NFL in 2003 to help increase the number of ethnic minorities in coaching and senior operational positions.

Jack Lester is set to return to Chesterfield as manager
Image: Jack Lester is set to return to Chesterfield as manager

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 in 2016, with 10 clubs extending that to the manager's position.

A third of all players who started on the opening day of the Premier League season were from BAME backgrounds, but there are just three BAME managers - Chris Hughton, Keith Curle and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink - across the 92 league clubs.

Sporting Equals chief executive Arun Kang calls for football authorities to consider a full-scale implementation of the Rooney Rule

Scottish clubs Falkirk and Ross County had been recruiting for a new manager before the latter appointed Owen Coyle on Thursday. However, both had told Sky Sports News that they would welcome and consider applications from candidates from an ethnic or diverse background.

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The Rooney Rule has not been implemented in the Scottish Professional Football League [SPFL] so the clubs are not obliged to have a candidate on their shortlist who meets that criteria.

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