The Football Association has just launched a new programme that will finally address the lack of BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) coaches in English football.
The initiative will see BAME coaches placed across all England teams, as the FA bids to lead by example in improving the under-representation of minority coaches working in English football.
The programme was announced yesterday and the first coach to join the senior England set up will be Brighton & Hove Albion first team coach Paul Nevin, who will form part of Gareth Southgate’s staff for games against the USA and Croatia next month. Rather fittingly, Brighton also has the Premier League’s only BAME manager in Chris Hughton.
The initiative will be joint funded by the PFA and the FA and other coaches to be given a chance include Sol Campbell, who will join the England U21 side next month, and Terry Connor, who joins the U21 group for their matches this month.
The latest stats reveal that just 4.6% of all coaches working in English football are of BAME backgrounds and of the 22 working in the professional game, 41% of them are concentrated at just four clubs: Brighton, Crystal Palace, Reading and QPR.
Speaking on the initiative, the chief of the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board, Paul Elliot, said:
“I have long felt that having more visibility around the national team could only serve to inspire others to follow in their footsteps as well as ensuring these coaches can take their work to another level.
I think in future we will look back at this moment as a defining one for coaching in this country.”
As recently as last month, Marcus Rashford spoke out about the need for better representation on the sidelines. This is a positive change that’s long overdue.