• PFA chief calls for introduction of ‘Rooney Rule’
• Wants ‘open and transparent’ recruitment process
Gordon Taylor has accused football sides of “a hidden racism which holds clubs back” when it comes to appointing black managers and called for the introduction of the “Rooney Rule” in use in American football to ensure that black candidates have an adequate representation on interview shortlists for coaching positions.
The chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association told the BBC that the appointment of black players as coaches “should be based on merit” and he said that they had “merit as players and merit as coaches”.
He added: “I can give you a list of black players who’ve become coaches, who’ve got their A licence, who’ve got their B licence, who’ve gone all the way up the ranks, they’ve got the pro-licence and aren’t getting opportunities. So I know for a fact they’ve got that merit but there is a hidden racism that seems to hold clubs back.
Taylor praised Huddersfield for appointing Chris Powell after he was sacked by Charlton in March though he is now only one of two black managers employed by the 92 clubs in English football along with Keith Curle at Carlisle.
“Can we not have a recruitment process that is open and transparent and contains black, asian, minority or ethnic people who are qualified? said Taylor.
“They have the Rooney Rule in gridiron because they similarly had a high number of black players but no black coaches. The rule was introduced to say look, at least make sure you’ve interviewed some of these players who want to stay in the game and then they found, not unsurprisingly, that they had some real quality players who became top-class black coaches. But in this country that’s not happened and we are merely asking for a recruitment process that is open and transparent and does exactly that.”
Taylor follows the former Blackburn manager Paul Ince in calling for the introduction of the Rooney Rule. Ince said of the current system: “I don’t think it’s always been about the best candidate.
“It’s hard to say that the people are racist and won’t give you a job because you’re black, but it does make you wonder why there aren’t so many black managers and coaches.”
The man who gave his name to the rule said that British club owners should recognise that their options would be significantly widened by the addition of black candidates to their shortlists.
Dan Rooney, the owner of Pittsburgh Steelers who helped put forward the NFL regulation in 2002, told the BBC: “I would tell British clubs that if they would look at this openly they will find this is a positive thing.
“The plus side of this is you’re increasing your list of people to look at and it would really work. I couldn’t recommend it enough for the teams in Britain.
“It may take a little bit of work. But it would be a plus to the teams, to the league itself. When you think about it they have nothing to lose.”
The Premier League said: “The situation that brought about the introduction of the ‘Rooney Rule’ in the NFL is markedly different to football. But our ultimate goal is the same.
“What we want to achieve, by working with the FA, Football League, managers and coaches, is more and better coaches coming through the English system who can progress to the highest levels of the game on merit and regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or background.”