When English domestic football resumes today at the end of a week disfigured by the racist incident involving Chelsea fans on the Paris Metro, it should do so in a spirit of sober self-examination. It is not enough to dismiss what happened on Tuesday as an unrepresentative outbreak of appalling prejudice whose significance is somehow lessened by having occurred some distance from the stadium.
Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, said yesterday that he was “ashamed” of the so-called fans involved, and perhaps he is now revising his opinion, expressed earlier in the season, that “there is no racism in football”.
It may be true that such loathsomeness among fans is now rare, but a subtler kind of racism still operates within the game as the percentage of black players fails to translate into an equivalent proportion holding coaching posts. Of the 20 clubs in the Premier League, only one has a black manager. In the three divisions of the Football League there are only five. Football crowds remain overwhlemingly white.
Greg Dyke, the Football Association chairman, has a stated aim to significantly increase the number of qualified coaches from ethnic minority backgrounds, and he is to be commended for that. If a reminder was needed of the progress football still has to make, then this week provided it.Reuse content