Lazarus Sauti
Black and minority players are not getting relevant opportunities to coach and manage after they finish their careers in the English game and they are becoming demoralised over the issue.

To make matters worse, there are now only three black managers in the top four divisions of English football.

Norwich boss Chris Hughton is the only black manager in the Premier League, while Chris Powell and Paul Ince manage in the Championship.

Birmingham City coach Michael Johnson expressed it this way: “We have three black managers at the helm and when you look at boardroom level, we have none. The statistics are alarming and there does seem to be a trend that we are not getting opportunities.”

What is causing this problem?

Johnson remarks: “I think it is a lack of education from the guys upstairs, the board members who seem to think that black players are ok to go and play for their club, but when it comes to managing or stepping upstairs into the boardroom, that might be a problem.”

Is it about education or skin colour?

Johnson answered: “I would not say it is racist but I think there are some severe problems with some people maybe not thinking that a black player is educated enough to go upstairs in a boardroom capacity.

“A black player may be well thought of as a player, but may not be thought of as a manager in their eyes.”

It is not about education Mr Johnson because the PFA issued a ‘ready-list’ of qualified former players who they believe can step into vacant coaching positions.

In fact, the PFA is disappointed by the failure of the league to discuss its ‘Coaching Fair Play’ initiative with clubs after what was described as a ‘breakthrough’ meeting between the PFA and Football League chairman Greg Clarke last season.

Jeffrey Webb, FIFA vice-president and also head of the FIFA anti-racism task force, shares the views that black and ethnic minority players are not getting the relevant opportunities to coach and manage after they finish their careers in the English game.

He also stated that many non-white players are becoming “demoralised” over the issue.

Webb believes the paucity of non-white managers in the English game is an issue which needs to be looked at as a matter of urgency.

The Premier League is one of the most culturally diverse divisions on the planet but has been overwhelmingly dominated by white managers.

He said: “There is a lot of young players coming through. I understand that more than 30 percent of the league is made up of people of African descent and over 71 different nationalities playing in the Premier League. But it is not reflected, they are not getting an opportunity to manage.

“And many of them are becoming very demoralised and these are issues of course that we hope the Football Association will take on and that of the Premier League.

“The English game must reflect society and the community. It does not do so.”

Webb’s statement follows a period of unrest for the Football Association.

A commission set up by chairman Greg Dyke aimed at improving the England national team recently received criticism for its lack of representation on the panel.

Greg Dyke, the Football Association chairman, was criticised by the board member, Jamaica-born and the FA’s only female board member, Heather Rabbatts for a perceived lack of diversity in his commission on the future of the English game.

His initial eight-strong panel was entirely comprised of white men, although Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand was added to the group.

To motivate black and minority players, the Football Association should look at this matter urgently.

Furthermore, the Football Association should recognise Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes which provides: “Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason is strictly prohibited.”

Merit should be used to judge good players and managers not skin colour.

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