Belfast Telegraph

Premier League to fund coach scheme

The Premier League is to fund a scheme which aims to significantly boost the number of coaches from black and ethnic minority (BME) communities.

A meeting of 20 club chairmen on Thursday agreed unanimously to fund a scheme that every year will see six of 23 coach apprentice places reserved for coaches from BME backgrounds.

A further three places will be given to female coaches and the scheme will aim to boost the number of new coaches with the UEFA Pro Licence qualification generally, and from the BME communities as well.

It comes after increasing pressure on football to respond to alarming figures about the low number of black coaches and managers in the game.

A report carried out by the Sports People's Think Tank on Monday revealed BME coaches fill only 3.4 per cent of positions in England, despite making up 25 per cent of professional players.

The report said English football should set a target of at least 20 per cent of professional coaches being from BME backgrounds by 2020 and should consider introducing a form of the 'Rooney rule' which would oblige clubs to have at least one BME candidate on shortlists for every coaching vacancy.

The Football Association is also preparing measures to drive towards its target of 10 per cent of coaches coming from a BME background.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink this week became only the third black manager in the Football League alongside Huddersfield's Chris Powell and Carlisle's Keith Curle.

Anti-discrimination body Kick It Out welcomes the announcement of the measures.

It said in a statement: "Kick It Out is also pleased to see the commitment made towards increasing coaching opportunities for women and black and ethnic minorities through the elite coaching apprenticeship scheme, and the formation of an advisory board to help guide this process and to support all candidates.

"During the last decade, we have supported clubs throughout the Premier League and Football League towards achieving levels of the Equality Standard, and have seen Arsenal and Aston Villa take the lead in embedding equality practices across their day-to-day operations.

"We look forward to continuing to contribute towards the implementation of Football's Equality Standard using the skills and expertise we have in this area, and seeing rapid progress made by clubs towards attaining, and excelling beyond, the required levels."

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