Football 'should consider Rooney rule'

  • Last Updated: September 19 2012, 16:53 BST

A report by MPs into racism in football has been criticised for failing to tackle the issue of the low number of black coaches and managers.

Piara Power: Would welcome the US 'Rooney rule' being introduced

Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination network FARE, says the review by the House of Commons' culture, media and sport select committee has missed an opportunity.

The report called for greater diversity among coaches, but Powar said there was no clear direction as to how this should be achieved.

He believes English football should follow the lead of the NFL, which has the 'Rooney rule' where shortlists for any head coach or senior management vacancy have to have at least one ethnic-minority candidate.

Powar said: "I think the committee has missed an opportunity here.

"There have been headline issues that English football has experienced over the last year, the Luis Suarez and John Terry cases, and those are very big issues that we need to deal with.

"But the report had no clear direction on diversity hiring practices.

"We now have less racism in football because people respect the achievements of black players but where is their role in the game as coaches and managers. Football needs to be given the lead.

"We have a significant Asian population in Britain but where are the Asian players?"

The report called on the FA to take the lead against racism and to bring in a new training programme for stewards at matches, but Powar insisted that is not the issue.

He added: "The UK has some of the best-trained stewards in the world. I don't really think that's the problem. You really do need to look at issues behind the headlines.

"The positive action programmes that exist in the US have made a huge difference and I don't think the situation in the UK will change until we have some strong action from above of that kind.

"The situation we have is exactly the situation that existed in the US before, and there the solution came from the presidents and owners with the Rooney rule."

Powar said the programme could be tailored specifically for British football.

"There is an opportunity for us to look at what the US does," he added. "I am not suggesting we replicate it lock, stock and barrel, but to adapt it to English football."

The MPs' report said the best way to bring in greater diversity among managers and directors was for the FA to encourage "transparent recruitment processes".