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The shocking under-representation of minority coaches in English football

Pin Hughton outlined the 'incredible imbalance' in the racial representation of managers. AFP
Hughton outlined the 'incredible imbalance' in the racial representation of managers. AFP

The shocking under-representation of minority coaches in English football

With Darren Moore's official appointment as the head coach of West Bromwich Albion, another manager was added to the shamefully short list of BAME (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority) coaches in England's top four divisions.

In April, the LMA (League Managers Association) published a report detailing the under-representation of BAME managers in England. According to their statistics, just 7.61% of head coaches are BAME individuals. However, following the dismissals of both Keith Curle from Carlisle and José Morais from Barnsley, this figure is now even lower.

One recent boost for BAME coaches has been the story of Darren Moore who, in his first managerial role, beat Manchester United, Tottenham, and earned a hard-fought point against Liverpool on the home stretch of the 2017/18 Premier League season. He was ultimately unable to keep the Baggies afloat but was appointed as the head coach on a permanent basis for his valiant effort. 

In a recent interview, Moore recognised the significance of his appointment: "By me sitting here in the position and the role I've got, it's an inspiration to all young British coaches. I'm in this role representing BAME coaches and young British coaches."

Nevertheless, a problem persists in the 'beautiful game,' and one that is deeply-rooted. Of the 92 clubs across England's football leagues, just six of them have an ethnic minority manager: Chris Hughton (Brighton), Darren Moore (West Brom), Jos Luhukay (Sheffield Wednesday), Dino Maamria (Stevenage), Chris Powell (Southend) and Nuno Espirito Santo (Wolverhampton Wanderers). 

Hughton, who cemented Brighton's Premier League status this season, is a board member for the LMA and did not hold back his criticism: "It is shocking and the more we speak about it, and reflect on it, the more it hits home that there's an incredible imbalance. The game has a responsibility to redress the balance."

What's more, the issue is not only limited to club football. There is not a single BAME member in Gareth Southgate's England national team staff for the World Cup. A shocking figure that has seen the FA come under fire in recent months: "'It is deeply disappointing that yet again the FA and England manager are in a position where they could lead by example but instead they have chosen to kick this issue into the long grass," lambasted David Lammy, MP for Tottenham. 

With football in England becoming more and more diverse, it goes without saying that the FA ought to proactively encourage and promote ethnic minorities in the sport's top posts.

One measure that has been taken is the introduction of the 'Rooney Rule'; a policy which will mean that at least one Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidate will be considered for FA coaching positions. A small step, but by no means a solution to one of English football's biggest problems.

Thomas Davidson

Thomas Davidson

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