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FA diversity chief Heather Rabbatts claims English football is making progress in providing opportunities for black coaches

Category: Industry News, diversity, Career opportunity, football

FA diversity chief Heather Rabbatts claims English football

English Football is 'making headway' in its attempts to improve opportunities for black coaches, the Football Association believes.

Heather Rabbatts, the FA's diversity chief, made the observation after chairing a meeting between football authorities and campaign groups aimed at addressing the low numbers of black and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals in coaching or administrative positions.

The summit, held on Tuesday, was attended by representatives of the Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers' Association, Kick it Out and Show Racism the Red Card.

Also present was Sports Minister Helen Grant and former England defender Sol Campbell who, along with the PFA, has called for the introduction of a version of American football's 'Rooney Rule'.

The Rooney Rule, which compels clubs to include at least one candidate from BAME backgrounds on their shortlists for positions, was one of the issues discussed at the meeting.

Rabbatts believes progress is being made following the launch of the FA's Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Action Plan in 2012.

Rabbatts, an FA board member, said: 'There is now a clear programme of change which all the football authorities are working to. At its heart it is about ending the 'closed system' which has characterised football for so long.

'The 'On Board' governance training programme supported by the FA and the PFA is now placing senior ex-BAME players on to boards to develop their experience to promote representation at the highest level of governance.

'We're making headway on the coaching front too. On developing BAME coaches and managers both the FA and Premier League have schemes in place which will provide places for black coaches to gain elite experience and the Football League is developing its own proposals which it will take to its meeting in June.'

Grant also felt the meeting was a constructive one and hopes progress will continue.

She said: 'I was pleased with the level of commitment shown at the meeting and will be receiving regular updates from football on this important issue, with a follow-up meeting planned for the summer.'

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