Football in England and Wales is “several rungs down the career ladder” for aspiring black coaches, according to the Black Footballers Partnership’s latest review of the game.

The report shows that the number of black ex-players hired into managerial and managerial roles within football has increased by less than 1 percent over the past 12 months.

A key reason for this, the report says, is that fewer than one in 20 new recruits to senior and managerial positions in League Two is black and therefore doesn’t get the opportunity to “start at the bottom and work your way up” – the traditional promotion route for former players.

The BFP is also very critical of the role the FA has played in this area, accusing the governing body of having only “partial, vague and self-chosen data” on the issue. The FA has “strongly denied” the claims and says it has made “positive and tangible progress” to increase representation.

The review claims the FA’s Football Leadership Diversity Code was overly “optimistic” when it said “clubs continue to exceed target for recruiting senior Black, Asian and mixed-race coaches”.

Vieira is one of the few black managers to have made it in the Premier League
Vieira is one of the few black managers to have made it in the Premier League

In contrast, according to the BFP, the number of new black hires in the game has grown from 21 of 325 positions last year (6.5 percent) to 26 of 379 new roles now (6.9 percent) — an increase of less than half Percent.

The number of black leadership positions has increased by just eight, from 49 out of 1,338 people (3.7 percent) in 2022 to 57 out of 1,304 positions in 2023 (4.4 percent) — an increase of 0.7 percent.

Delroy Corinaldi, Executive Director of BFP, says: “The numbers are strong. We’re an evidence-based organization because we know the game understands numbers.

Hayden Mullins was released from Colchester in January
Hayden Mullins was sacked by Colchester in January

“The game risks becoming a sole employer of black talent, even if black coaches are qualified to fill the roles after contributing so much to the game as players.

“We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and help the game walk the talk. We hope the game is willing to do the same so next year’s numbers will be different.”

When a comment is requested by Sky sports newsThe FA responded by pledged to make English football a “modern and diverse” environment and defended its record in the Football Leadership Diversity Code, which it described as “groundbreaking”.

“We are very committed to ensuring that English football truly reflects our modern and diverse society,” said the governing body.

“This is fundamental to our core beliefs and we are focused on bringing about diverse and meaningful change in football. We’re doing this across a number of our initiatives, including the groundbreaking Football Leadership Diversity Code launched in 2020.

“The code now has over 60 signatories, including all Premier League clubs, 29 EFL clubs, The FA, Premier League and EFL, all committed to diverse recruitment and the publication of their results annually – and we strongly oppose any proposal that the published data is either vague or misleading.

“While we are making positive and tangible progress through our evidence-based approach, we also recognize that more can be done by everyone in the game and that significant changes will take time.

“We will continue to work with our stakeholders in English football to continue to develop and grow in this critical area.”

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