Kick It Out backs Football League 'Rooney Rule'

With the Football League set to implement a version of NFL's 'Rooney Rule', Kick It Out and the PFA have backed the plans.

Kick It Out has welcomed the latest steps made by the Football League aimed at increasing opportunities for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) managers and coaches.

League clubs leant their support to recommendations from chairman Greg Clarke to introduce a version of NFL's Rooney Rule, which requires at least one BAME coach to be interviewed where an application is received.

Lord Herman Ouseley, chairman of Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion organisation, said: "We commend Football League clubs for backing proposals put forward by Greg Clarke to install open and transparent recruitment practices aimed at increasing the level of black, Asian and minority ethnic representation in management and coaching positions.

"We recognise the lengthy and painstaking process led by Clarke to achieve this breakthrough commitment.

"These are positive early steps towards ensuring there is greater BAME representation across English football and it is pleasing to see the Football League publicly announcing and committing to clear targets.

"This offers future opportunity for existing qualified BAME coaches, including those who have gained the necessary experience but continue to feel they are met by barriers throughout the game, to be considered for interviews when vacancies are available for appointments. It also raises the confidence of others who are presently pursuing their coaching badges.

"It is nevertheless a sad fact that most professional football clubs continue to have recruitment policies and practices which are not open, objective, competitive, fair and accountable. It is our hope that this moment of enlightenment might stir some into adopting best practices in recruitment, appointment and retention to achieve equality and diversity outcomes.

"Professional football clubs should reflect the demography of their location and the aspirations of the communities surrounding their existence. We look forward to continuing discussions with the Football League ahead of its 2016 Annual General Meeting before the formal vote is cast by clubs on these proposals. The timescale requires ratification with implementation still some way off."

And those comments were echoed by Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) chief executive Gordon Taylor.

"We are very pleased that the Football League has responded to our lobbying over the past 11 years on the need to implement an English version of the Rooney Rule," he said. "We feel sure this fairer process will result in more equitable representation to match that on the playing field.

"The union will continue its efforts to ensure that the Rooney Rule comes into effect and that football continues to show the way forward for this and all other equalities issues."