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Interview: The Football Association's man with a mission

POSITIVE: Dr. Wayne Allison has high hopes for the future (image credit: S4C)

DR. WAYNE Allison is The FA’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) project manager, in the technical directorate.

The FA recently announced a £1.4m investment over the next five years, to get more aspiring coaches from BAME communities into the licensed coaching system, at the elite level, which Allison leads.

In a career spanning 22 years, he played at numerous clubs including Watford, Swindon Town and Sheffield United, before stepping in to various management roles with clubs such as Bury and Tranmere Rovers. He joined The FA in 2012 as coaching research manager, a role he will continue to oversee.

He talks to The Voice's Rodney Hinds…

Q: How has the project moved forward?

A: Following on from the success of the first year of the mentee programme, which has seen three of the four mentees on the course now employed full-time in football, the pressure was on to raise the bar even higher for this year’s intake. We have a introduced a 24 week coaching project with the help of FA Coach Developers as mentors and we have also introduced a three week coaching placement in Spain, thanks to enormous help and support from the Spanish FA. As well as spending time at their HQ during the international break and getting to see Spain’s male and female senior and male under-21 team in action, the four mentees also worked in professional clubs in and around Madrid.

PLAYING DAYS: As a player Allison played for several clubs

Q: Do The FA see the development of aspiring coaches as a priority?

A: The opening of St George’s Park and the development of the Coaching Competency Framework is proof of how much The FA is committed to coach development.

The framework led to the redesigning of all The FA coaching courses, which has culminated in the design of a new coherent coach development pathway.

Q: Has your football career helped in your job as The FA’s Coach Inclusion and Diversity Manager? If yes, how so?

A: I think having played professionally, gained all of my coaching qualifications and had a lot of experience in coaching, I feel that it does mean I have a better understanding of what BAME coaches and aspiring coaches are going through.

I think, because of this people may find it easier to talk and share their experiences which definitely helps in getting a better understanding of what the situation is really like day-to -day.

Q: What’s your personal view on the lack of BAME managers and coaches in the game?

A: It’s obviously disappointing that we are still talking about such a small number of BAME coaches and managers at the elite level but I do know we have come a long way in recent years when it comes to the number of BAME coaches who have now taken their coaching awards and are qualified for roles.

Q: What would you say to those that feel that the organisation isn’t doing enough for black coaches?


Q: What advice would you give to aspiring coaches that feel that the game is no place for them based on a lack of opportunities?

A: Change will only happen if there are people driving it and everyone is receptive to change, so we need all coaches to keep believing and asking the right questions to challenge and make everyone accountable. The most important thing is to make sure they give themselves the best chance of getting the opportunities by having the right qualifications and keep practicing coaching.

Q: What does the future hold for black managers and coaches do you feel?

A: I think with the work we are doing at The FA and with the engagement of the footballing stakeholders including the professional leagues, the attitude and mindset is changing, slowly but surely, we will see an increase in numbers at the elite level sooner rather than later.

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