Rooney Rule: What is it, how does it work and how will it affect English football?

The FA confirmed today that it will be introducing the rule within the England set-up

Tuesday 09 January 2018 17:43 GMT
The FA is adopting the measure as part of its plan to boost diversity in the game
The FA is adopting the measure as part of its plan to boost diversity in the game

The Football Association confirmed today that it will enforce the ‘Rooney Rule’ when selecting future coaching roles within the England set-up.

But what does this mean for the game?

Here, we take a closer look at the ‘Rooney Rule’, its origins and how it’ll affect English football in the years to come:

What is the ‘Rooney Rule’?

The ‘Rooney Rule’ dictates that sporting authorities – in this case within football – must interview a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) applicant when recruiting for senior coaching positions. There is no quota or preference given to minorities in the hiring of candidates.

The rule isn’t necessarily restricted to sport and has been adopted across a number of other industries.

Where does the rule originate from?

It’s named after Dan Rooney, former owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and former chairman of the NFL’s diversity committee.

It was created as a reaction to the 2002 firings of head coaches Tony Dungy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dennis Green of the Minnesota Vikings, at a time when Dungy had a winning record and Green had lost his first season in ten years.

The rule was established by the NFL in 2003.

So how does it apply to the FA?

Martin Glenn confirmed that the ‘Rooney Rule’ will be enforced across the entire England set-up as of 2018 as the FA attempts to boost diversity in the game. This means at least one Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic applicant will be interviewed by FA figures for coaching positions, from youth level up to the senior teams, for both men and women.

Glenn said the rule will "absolutely" be implemented when selecting Gareth Southgate's successor as England manager.

The initiative will be applied to back-room staff as well as head coaches.

Glenn stressed, though, that only those BAME candidates with the relevant qualifications and experience will be considered.

Is the ‘Rooney Rule’ enforced elsewhere in the football world?

Yes. English Football League clubs introduced their own version of the 'Rooney Rule' on 1 January but the same measure has been applied to roles in their academies since June.

The Premier League has yet to adopt the initiative.

How many BAME coaches are currently working elite English football?

There are currently five BAME managers working in England's top four divisions. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at Northampton, Carlisle's Keith Curle, Nuno Espirito Santo at Wolves and Chesterfield boss Jack Lester. Brighton manager Chris Hughton is the only non-white head coach in the Premier League.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in