Racism in football – Six-point plan including Rooney rule

A Taylor-made plan to stop breakaway includes 'Rooney rule' and instant sackings

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 24 October 2012

Faced with the prospect of losing nearly half his members to a breakaway black players’ union, Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor attempted to avert such an outcome by announcing a radical six-point action plan.

Taylor made his recommendations after Sportsmail revealed that some of the game’s leading stars were about to set up their own independent body, called the Black Players’ Association, if football’s governors did not act.

The PFA proposals — which it is understood complied with direct recommendations made in private discussions with black players —include the dramatic prospect of firing managers, players or administrators if they are found guilty of racially motivated offences.

Centre of attention: John Terry was banned for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

Centre of attention: John Terry was banned for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

Taylor's six-point plan
Speeding up the process of dealing with reported racist abuse with close monitoring of any incidents.Consideration
of stiffer penalties for racist abuse and to include an equality
awareness programme for culprits and clubs involved.An
English form of the 'Rooney rule' – introduced by the NFL in America in
2003 – to make sure qualified black coaches are on interview lists for
job vacancies.The proportion of black coaches and managers to be monitored and any inequality or progress highlighted.Racial abuse to be considered gross misconduct in player and coach contracts (and therefore potentially a sackable offence).To
not lose sight of other equality issues such as gender, sexual
orientation, disability, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Asians in
football.

Taylor is also demanding an increase in the number of ethnic minority coaches in the game by adopting the ‘Rooney Rule’ — used in American football — to promote up-and-coming black managers.

The move sparked an almost immediate response from the Ferdinand family and so eased the threat of a breakaway union that could attract the 44 per cent of PFA members from ethnic minority backgrounds.

If the PFA receives support from Premier League and Football League clubs, those teams would have to interview candidates from minority backgrounds as part of the process of choosing a boss. Norwich’s Chris Hughton is the only black manager in the top flight.

Taylor said: ‘We need the football family together on this. No-one ever said racism was easy to deal with. We have got to do our best and we need the fire in the belly of a lot of young players and for them to be on board with us. If they want their own particular select group who they feel they can influence everybody more than the whole PFA as a union together, I would say they are seriously mistaken.

‘If we are not careful this will set us back years. It would not only set back the game, it would set back the anti-racist initiative.’

Stance: Rio Ferdinand

Stance: Anton Ferdinand

Kicking off: (clockwise from top left) Rio Ferdinand, Anton Ferdinand, Joleon Lescott and Jason Roberts all snubbed the Kick It Out t-shirt campaign in the Premier League last weekend

Stance: Jason Roberts

Stance: Joleon Lescott

The prospect of sacking a player, coach, manager or administrator for a racially motivated offence is one of the most striking changes proposed by Taylor. It means Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, banned for eight matches last season, and Chelsea skipper John Terry, serving a four-game suspension, could have been dismissed by their clubs instead.

For Taylor’s motion to be carried with the Premier League he needs the support of 14 of the 20 top-flight clubs. That will also apply to his call for the implementation of the Rooney Rule.

Former Aston Villa and England striker Dion Dublin supported Taylor’s plans, saying: ‘The only arguments we have are: are there enough black and ethnic minority people applying for these jobs If there are the same amount as there are white people, then there is a problem. There must be a problem in the decision-making process upstairs somewhere.

Plea: Gordan Taylor wants black players to stick with the Professional Footballers Association

Plea: Gordan Taylor wants black players to stick with the Professional Footballers Association

‘We don’t know those stats. If there are equal amounts, then there is a race problem somewhere, but we don’t know that, so it is just hearsay — there might only be five per cent of black people wanting those jobs. I think there is a lack of black people as managers and coaches.

‘There are so many black and ethnic minority players that may have been good enough to have been managers but have they applied for these jobs We don’t know. If they have and have not got them, why not It is either they are not good enough, or there is a race issue.’

Leading the way: Norwich's Chris Hughton is the only black manager in the Premier League

Leading the way: Norwich's Chris Hughton is the only black manager in the Premier League

What is the Rooney Rule

So why do people want a new rule about Wayne Rooney

It’s not about Wayne. It’s actually named after Dan Rooney, the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers American Football team and the chairman of the NFL’s diversity committee.

Why’s that then

The rule was named after him because the Steelers are well known for giving African Americans senior roles at the club.

What does it mean

The Rooney Rule only currently applies to American football and requires at least one black or ethnic minority candidate to be interviewed for a head coaching or senior operation role for a team.

Has it worked

It was introduced in 2003 and within three years the number of black NFL head coaches went from four per cent to 22 per cent.

What are the figures like over here

Only four per cent of managers in the top four tiers of English football are black or from an ethnic minority.

Total clubs in the Premier and Football League: 92.

Black and ethnic minority managers in the Premier and Football League: Four — Keith Curle (Notts County), Chris Hughton (Norwich), Chris Powell (Charlton), Edgar Davids (Barnet — joint head coach).