English Football Association tackles diversity shortfall with Rooney Rule

Doug Mendoza
January 11, 2018

Anti-racism organisation Kick It Out has hailed the Football Association's pledge to interview at least one candidate from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background for future roles within the England set-up as a "watershed" moment.

The "Rooney Rule" was first introduced 15 years ago in the National Football League, and the FA hope that this will help the organisation become a more inclusive workplace for all diversities.

They were also attacked following the handling of the Eniola Aluko controversy with ex-England women's coach, Mark Sampson.

Chief executive Martin Glenn also announced that FA Cup prize money will be doubled and more cash donated to the grassroots game.

"Now our grievance and whistle-blowing procedures are common across men's and women's teams".

The Rooney Rule, named after NFL diversity committee chairman Dan Rooney, requires American football franchises to interview at least one BAME candidate for each head coach or senior football operation vacancy.

"I think the Rooney Rule on its own isn't enough".

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Since the job was created 72 years ago, every manager of the England men's football team has been white.

The women's team was led into the 2007 and 2011 World Cups by Hope Powell, who is black.

But he accepted that a lack of opportunities for ethnic minority coaches needs to be addressed, even if the FA statement did qualify its introduction of a Rooney Rule by stating that at least one BAME candidate will be interviewed for each position "as long as such a candidate has applied and meets the recruitment criteria".

"The principles of a voluntary "Rooney Rule" will be formally adopted by the England team set up", the FA confirmed on Tuesday. Chris Hughton at Brighton is the only black manager in the 20-team Premier League.

"The commitment to the "Rooney Rule" is about bringing to life our ambition to make the people that run football and manage football, they should look - in mine and the FA's view - more like the people that play football today", Glenn told Sky Sports News. We are also quite a big employer as well if you think about the number of 28 England teams now, if you include men's, women's and disability. 'I think it's fair to say that what we've seen is there are probably some differences in what they would expect to hear or say, ' he said.

Glenn said Aluko had been involved with UK Sport in drawing up grievance and whistle-blowing policies for the whole of the FA.

Asked to explain what he meant, Glenn added: "I guess banter would be a case in point".

Other reports by GizPress

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