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Rooney Rule comes under discussion

ONE OF TWO: Birmingham City manager Chris Hughton

THE MUCH chronicled Rooney Rule is the subject of debate in central London next week. Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign, and the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), have gathered a panel of experts to discuss the controversial subject.

The Rooney Rule is a code of conduct initiated by America’s NFL American football league which ensures that there is always at least one black and ethnic minority candidate on the interview panel for head coach positions in the NFL.

The initiative, which might be considered by the English Football League, is named after Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who persuaded other NFL clubs to expand their interviewing process in 2003, offering at least a chance for black candidates to present their credentials.

A debate has now been started in English football regarding whether the Rooney Rule should be adopted in the Premier and Football leagues following the visit to Britain in early September of US lawyer Cyrus Mehri, a leader proponent of the initiative.

Mehri addressed the Football Association, Premier League, Football League and League Managers Association during his stay, emphasising the benefits which can be reaped from introducing such a policy.

COACH EDUCATOR: Paul Davis is on the panel next week

Out of 92 managers at Premier League and Football League clubs, only Chris Powell at Charlton Athletic and Birmingham City’s Chris Hughton are black, making up just 2 per cent. In comparison, 25 per cent of the English game’s 4,500 professional players are from ethnic minorities.

Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion campaign, to mark the launch of the organisation’s One Game, One Community weeks of action campaign, a panel of special guests will debate the pros and cons of introducing the Rooney Rule into English football, and what the game can do more widely to increase the number of black managers at professional level.

Journalists Darren Lewis [The Daily Mirror] and The Voice’s sports editor Rodney Hinds will be joined by Dr Colin King, founder of the Black and Asian Coaches Association, a grass roots organisation aimed at redressing the lack of black managers across all levels of the game by working at community and governing body level and
ex-Arsenal player Paul Davis who now works at the PFA as head of coach education

The debate takes place at Lankaster Lecture Theatre (University College London), Medawar Building, Malet Place (off Torrington Place), London WC1, on Thursday October 13 at 6pm.


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