Home Black, Minority, Ethnic Football management for black former players is ‘all snakes and no ladders’

Football management for black former players is ‘all snakes and no ladders’

by Editor

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany and Wolves manager Nuno are the only two black Premier League managers
Burnley manager Vincent Kompany and Wolves manager Nuno are the only two black Premier League managers

Non-black players were 50% more likely to get into management than black players over a 30-year period, according to research commissioned by the Black Footballers Partnership (BFP).

The report by three academics looked at off-the-pitch careers of around 3,500 former footballers who played in the Premier League or Championship between 1990 and 2010.

It found that despite black players making up 25% of Uefa-issued coaching qualifications, in 2022 and 2023, they only accounted for 4% of all managerial roles.

Delroy Corinaldi, executive director of BFP, said: “A career in football management often looks like a game of Snakes and Ladders; but for black former players, it’s pretty much all snakes and no ladders”.

The BFP is an organisation of black present and former players.

The report summarised that black former players get fewer chances at management, get promoted more slowly, their progress stalls sooner and they get fired quicker than their non-black counterparts – none of which is related to performance.

It also made a number of points, including:

  • The average black player does not accumulate much more than half the managerial experience that all other former players do
  • A black manager is 41% more likely to be fired than a white manager – when factors such as performance are equal
  • Across all management roles, a black person is 17% more likely to be fired

Of the 3,500 players in the research, 73% of the black players played in the Premier League with an average 62 appearances per player, while 62% of the non-black players appeared in the top-flight, with an average of 49 appearances.

“The findings are unbelievably stark,” Corinaldi told the PA news agency.

“The footballers have become the lost generation off the pitch, having become the stars on it.”

The report was published shortly after it was confirmed the UK government will establish an independent football regulator when the Football Governance Bill is introduced in Parliament on Tuesday.

Former professionals including Les Ferdinand, Chris Ramsey, Michael Johnson, Ricky Hill, Paul Davis and Sol Campbell have joined Corinaldi’s calls to include diversity and inclusivity objectives in the Football Governance Bill.

They have also called for football stakeholders to work with BFP to understand the lived experiences of discrimination in the game and for black footballers to receive the support they need to progress through every tier of the game unhindered by prejudice and racial discrimination.

“The game must do better and the independent regulator offers an opportunity for that but if that independent regulator doesn’t address racial equity in the game based on the data we’re showing then it is a missed opportunity,” added Corinaldi.

“This report is an opportunity for the game to reset, to re-engage with the BFP so we can work towards sustainable solutions.”

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