UK football clubs may be forced to shortlist black managers
London: The Professional Footballers` Association (PFA) is investigating the possibility of forcing clubs to put black candidates on shortlists for managerial vacancies.
According to reports, currently only two of the 92 English league teams have black managers, Chris Powell at Charlton and Birmingham`s Chris Hughton.
Discussions with the men who brought about the implementation of the `Rooney Rule` in the United States, credited with getting the NFL to a position where two black coaches faced each other in last season`s Super Bowl, are at an early stage, with further talks are planned.
Gordon Taylor, the PFA chief executive, feels it is an avenue that has to be explored.
"In football terms, we are the most cosmopolitan country in the world," said Taylor, adding, "There is no distinction between colour, creed, nationality or background.”
"However, the PFA spends a lot of money training players for the future and understandably, one of the most obvious areas of interest is coaching and management. For some reason the number of black people who actually get a chance in this area is very small," Taylor said.
The same situation used to exist in the NFL until civil rights lawyer Cyrus Mehri drafted the Rooney Rule.
Implemented in 2003, the Rooney Rule was forced to overcome some initial teething problems.
However, once the NFL showed they were prepared to take tough action against clubs who did not follow the law - fining the Detroit Lions 200,000 dollars for not interviewing an African-American for their vacant head coach`s job in 2003 - teams fell into line.
Taylor feels a similar situation in England would be a win-win outcome given the increasing clamour for success.