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Tackling the Diversity Deficit in Football Coaching

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Prince Jean

Mar 27, 2024


Football Arena. @wallpapercave

Racism's deep-seated presence in football, the world's most beloved sport, has long been a topic of concern, with players frequently facing racial abuse both on the field and online. Despite efforts by organizations such as FIFA and UEFA to combat player harassment, the glaring lack of diversity within the coaching echelons of major football clubs remains a critical issue yet to be addressed effectively.

Delroy Corinaldi, co-founder of the Black Footballers Partnership in the UK, emphasized the importance of viewing this issue through a "Black lens." According to a 2022 report by the BFP, there exists a stark disparity in the representation of Black individuals in coaching roles compared to their prevalence on the field; about 43% of players in England's Premier League are Black, yet only 4% occupy coaching positions within English professional football, with a mere two Black managers in the Premier League.

This under-representation extends beyond England, with similar patterns observed in France's Ligue 1, Italy's Serie A, and notably, none in the top leagues of Spain and Germany. Wilfried Nancy, the sole Black head coach in the MLS and leader of the Columbus Crew, expresses bewilderment at the scarcity of Black coaches despite the abundance of Black players, suggesting a disconnect in the transition from player to coach.

The root of this issue may lie in the homogeneity of football's boardrooms. The English Football Association's leadership diversity code, introduced in 2020 to set hiring targets and combat inequality, reported in November that the diversity of the workforce still does not mirror that of the players. The Premier League's Coach Inclusion and Diversity Scheme, while a step forward, seems insufficient as the BFP's latest findings reveal a bias in managerial progression and job security against Black individuals.

The impending vacancies for top coaching roles at prestigious clubs like Liverpool and Bayern Munich highlight the ongoing challenges. The anticipated frontrunner, Xabi Alonso, epitomizes the typical profile of candidates considered for such positions, further underscoring the industry's diversity issue.

The rarity of Black managers at the helm of premier teams contrasts sharply with their prevalence in lower-tier positions, as seen in the careers of former England internationals Paul Ince and Sol Campbell. This disparity is starkly evident when juxtaposed with the career trajectories of their white counterparts, such as Frank Lampard.

The journey for equality in football coaching is fraught with obstacles, but as Troy Deeney, former Premier League player and briefly a coach for Forest Green Rovers, asserts, the opportunity for growth and learning from mistakes is essential for progress. The industry must evolve to provide fair

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