Football has “an awful long way to go” before completely addressing the lack of black, Asian or minority ethnic bosses, according to League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan.
There are just five BAME managers in English football’s top four divisions, with Bevan recognising the number is not enough.
Chris Hughton (Brighton), Nuno Espirito Santo (Wolves), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Northampton), Keith Curle (Carlisle) and Jack Lester (Chesterfield) are the only BAME managers in the top 92 clubs.
The LMA has seen increased BAME attendance in its Diploma in Football Management but Bevan insisted there is more to do to improve the numbers in the professional game.
He told Press Association Sport: “I’m not really pleased where the game has got to because I think we have an awful long way to go. I think it’s a massively steep learning curve and the stats show us it’s not good enough.
“But we need to ensure there are more than 20 BAME coaches with the Pro Licence and show there are more than 60 plus coaches with the ‘A’ Licence. We need to ensure once those individuals have been identified and want to become coaches and managers the services we offer, which is all I can control, are the best, properly funded and available to all.”
This year, the EFL have extended a trial to all 72 clubs after 10 took part in a voluntary scheme to interview BAME candidates last season.
The clubs were required to interview a BAME candidate in instances where they ran a recruitment process, based on American football’s ‘Rooney Rule’. But Bevan conceded it remains difficult if owners and chairmen are presented with managers they know via business, social or agent contacts.
“Wherever there is an informal recruitment process, there is always going to be a risk of sub-conscious bias,” he said. From our perspective, it is about making sure we communicate with all of the clubs and they are fully aware of the best diversity programmes, the best education and making sure there is a clear opportunity for a BAME coaches to apply for all of the roles.
“Whether you call it positive discrimination or whether you call it sub-conscious bias, it is the platform I am interested in. It’s making sure the 92 clubs have an open and transparent recruitment policy, that we are aware of the jobs and that we can advertise those jobs.”
The percentage of BAME managers is also very small when set against the much larger representation, around 25 per cent, of BAME professional players, something which remains high on the LMA’s agenda.
“From the LMA’s perspective, we need to keep asking that question every month. We need to work out what is working and what isn’t working,” said Bevan.
“We need to invest into the LMA institute in making sure we provide the facility, educational opportunities, qualifications and the access to work experiences (for BAME coaches). We are willing to help, whatever that may be.”