Football League 'Rooney Rule': Kick It Out praises decision to look at ways to increase Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic managers

At present only six of the 72 managers in the Football League come from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background

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The Independent Football

Kick It Out has welcomed the Football League's historic decision to propose a version of the 'Rooney Rule'.

Chairman Greg Clarke received the backing of clubs at the Football League Owners' and Executives' Conference 2015 in Portugal for the initiatives which aim to increase employment opportunities for managers and coaches from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background, with currently only six such managers out of the 72 members.

Proposals include making it compulsory for clubs to interview at least one BAME candidate, where an application has been received, for all youth development roles requiring a minimum of a UEFA B coaching licence, while a voluntary recruitment code, initially piloted by five to 10 clubs, should be adopted for first team football.

Chair of Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion organisation, Lord Herman Ouseley said: "We commend Football League clubs for backing proposals put forward by Greg Clarke to install open and transparent recruitment practices aimed at increasing the level of black, Asian and minority ethnic representation in management and coaching positions.

"We recognise the lengthy and painstaking process led by Clarke to achieve this breakthrough commitment.

"He should be credited for the consultation he has undertaken with the main footballing bodies and anti-discrimination organisations and campaigners, and for showing leadership in this area after criticism of the Football League last year for its lack of activity on this front.

Lord Ouseley (left) alongside England manager Roy Hodgson

"Clarke has the knowledge of how Football League clubs run and function, and he will appreciate the process has taken far longer than we, and many others, would have liked.

"These are positive early steps towards ensuring there is greater BAME representation across English football and it is pleasing to see the Football League publicly announcing and committing to clear targets.

"This offers future opportunity for existing qualified BAME coaches, including those who have gained the necessary experience, but continue to feel they are met by barriers throughout the game, to be considered for interviews when vacancies are available for appointments.

"It also raises the confidence of others who are presently pursuing their coaching badges."

The 'Rooney Rule' is named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney

Clarke believes to simply transpose the Rooney Rule from the American National Football League, which requires teams to interview ethnic minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs, leading to a rise in appointments, would not be feasible.

Dan Rooney, now the chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the National Football League, has given the initiative, which has been adapted to fit into the English system of promotion and relegation, his full backing.

A period of dialogue will follow with clubs and stakeholders, ahead of a proposed formal vote at the 2016 Annual General Meeting and potential implementation in 2016-17.

Ouseley stressed the drive for equality was far from won to make football mirror Britain's diverse, multi-cultural society.

"It is nevertheless a sad fact that most professional football clubs continue to have recruitment policies and practices which are not open, objective, competitive, fair and accountable," he continued.

"It is our hope that this moment of enlightenment might stir some into adopting best practices in recruitment, appointment and retention to achieve equality and diversity outcomes.

"Professional football clubs should reflect the demography of their location and the aspirations of the communities surrounding their existence.

"We look forward to continuing discussions with the Football League ahead of its 2016 Annual General Meeting before the formal vote is cast by clubs on these proposals.

"The timescale requires ratification with implementation still some way off."