Tiny increase in Black football employees, says report | FA rejects criticism
Football in England and Wales "has several rungs missing off the career ladder" for aspiring Black coaches, according to the latest review of the game by the Black Footballers Partnership.
The report shows that there has been less than a 1 per cent increase in the number of black former players hired in managerial and executive roles within the game over the past 12 months.
One key reason for this, the report suggests, is that fewer than one in 20 of the new recruits in managerial and executive positions in League Two are Black, and so they aren't gaining the opportunity to "start at the bottom and work their way up" - the traditional route of progress for former players.
The BFP is also very critical of the role the FA has played in this area, accusing the governing body of holding only "partial, vague and self-selecting data" on the subject. The FA has "strongly rejected" the claims, and says it has been making "positive and tangible progress" to increase representation.
The review claims that the FA's Football Leadership Diversity Code is overly "optimistic", when it says that "clubs continue to exceed the target for recruitment of senior Black, Asian and mixed heritage coaches".
By contrast, the BFP says the number of new black employees in the game rose from 21 out of 325 positions this time last year (6.5 per cent) to 26 out of 379 new roles now (6.9 per cent) - an increase of less than half of one per cent.
The number of management-related positions held by Black people has risen by just eight: from 49 individuals out of 1338 (3.7 per cent) in 2022, to 57 people out of 1304 roles in 2023 (4.4 per cent) - an increase of 0.7 per cent.
Delroy Corinaldi, executive director of BFP, says: "The numbers are stark. We are an evidence-based organisation because we know the game understands numbers.
The game is in danger of being a one-in-one-out employer of Black talent even when Black coaches are qualified to do the roles after contributing so much to the game as players.
"We are ready to roll our sleeves up and help the game turn its words into actions. We hope the game is willing to do the same, so that next year's figures are different."
When approached for comment by Sky Sports News, the FA responded by stating its commitment to making English football a "modern and diverse" environment and defended its record on the Football Leadership Diversity Code, which it called "ground-breaking".
"We are deeply committed to ensuring that English football is truly reflective of our modern and diverse society," the governing body said.
"This is fundamental to our core beliefs, and we are focused on delivering diverse and meaningful change in football. We do this across a number of our initiatives, including the ground-breaking Football Leadership Diversity Code, which was launched in 2020.
"The Code now has over 60 signatories, including all Premier League clubs, 29 EFL clubs, The FA, Premier League and EFL, who are all committed to diverse recruitment and the annual publication of their results - and we strongly reject any suggestion that the published data is either vague or misleading.
"Whilst we are making positive and tangible progress, through our evidence-led approach, we also recognise that more can be done by everyone in the game and that substantive change will take time.
"We will continue to work with our stakeholders in English football to develop and grow in this critical area."