Jeffrey Webb, FIFA vice-president said racism in English football is ‘right in front of your face.’ He went on to cite the case of ex Chelsea player and coach, Eddie Newton who cannot even get an interview for jobs.
Jose Mourinho on the other hand says ‘there is no racism in football’
So who do we believe?
Well certainly not Mourinho because he must be walking around with his head up his backside to make comments like that.
Everyone knows there is racism in football but why the sudden outcry recently? It wasn’t because an Asian raised their voice about it as we have been talking to brick walls for years. It was in truth because there are a lack of black managers in the game. The black people cried that there had only been the likes of Chris Powell, Paul Ince, Chris Kiwomya, Edgar Davids, Keith Curle and the late Keith Alexander involved as managers in the game. Then on top of that there will be coaches I am sure who have been or are still involved in the game such as the aforementioned Eddie Newton and Terry Connor at Ipswich. So we know of at least eight black people who at some time or another have been involved in the upper echelons of the game. Eight!!! What a pathetic figure, it’s embarrassing, stinks of out and out racism.
So now let’s name all the Asian managers and coaches involved at a similar level, no forget that, let’s not just concentrate on the Premier League and Championship but we’ll look at all the levels through to the Conference. Can you name one? It makes the figure eight look like a massive amount now doesn’t it!
What will the blame be on this now? Cricket maybe? Our diets are still wrong? Parents still want us to be doctors and solicitors? I’ve heard people at meetings say that certain cultures ‘fast’ so this causes a problem? How many footballers are currently following the Muslim faith? Answer –hundreds.
Only the most stupid and illiterate people will bring these excuses to the table.
Recently Football League Chairman, Greg Clarke, said he would be leading a review of all matters relating to the under representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) managers and coaches at League Clubs. They will be consulting with its own clubs, The Football Association, other Leagues, the Professional Footballers’ Association, the League Managers’ Association, the Football Supporters’ Federation, Kick It Out and other interested parties. I presume by other interested parties he means the actual people who matter –US!!
There is talk of introducing the ‘Rooney Rule’ which would compel clubs to interview at least one BAME candidate for management jobs. I usually would not agree with this because I believe you should be judged on merit but it is obvious in football this is not the case so it is must be introduced.
I will say this to the F.A let us see the proof in the pudding. You bring me all your highly rated coaches from whatever club you want and I will bring you Asian coaches and for a specified period let all these coaches take children of similar ability away to be coached under the same guidelines and with access to the same facilities and equipment. Then we shall not only see who has been coached better but can ask the question why are they in jobs and the Asian coaches are not.
As we can see with the numbers, there should be many more black managers and coaches but the fact is the black community is involved in football in every degree from players through to managers and coaches. Your feet are firmly inside the door. You just believe and rightly so that there should be more black managers and coaches in jobs on merit. Well whilst you are moaning and complaining in the inside, Asians are still knocking on the door outside.
Kick It Out has black representation at the highest level, as does the F.A. I have written a past article of my experience when I attended a meeting about lack of Asian players in the game which was headed by a black member, Jonathan Mills! That is like me going into Brixton and telling the community there I’m going to lead a review of problems within their community.
So what are the solutions?
Definitely not meetings where the Asian community gathers at some so called prestigious venue where we talk about the same thing we talked about decades ago. A place where some token Asians are bought to so they can tell us everything is fine and things are moving forward. Then we put some dates in our diary to hear the same thing trashed out six months later.
To give you a personal example how some of these establishments treat people, I contacted Troy Townsend of Kick It Out. An organisation that is meant to be at the forefront of equality and anti-racism. I asked Troy Townsend about mid June whether he would be prepared to give me an interview. He emailed me and said yes he would. I sent him the questions and he said if I could change the word ‘Indian’ to ‘Asian’. I did this and never heard back. Eventually after more emails and texts he kept on promising that he would get back to me by the end of the week etc;. Then suddenly no contact whatsoever. This is a man in a very respected and prominent position and if he had said he was not able to take part in the interview for whatever reason, then I would have understood and accepted it whether I liked it or not. However it was just promise after promise that he would do it. Now after reading this, what is the Asian community going to think?
Brendan Batson sent me emails about a Bursary programme for coaches and said he would be in touch. That was over a year ago. He must have lost my email!
It is just talk, lip service and available funds to waste on lies and false promises.
I must add though that when I contacted Kick It Out about my experience with Troy Townsend and spoke to Tom Taylor, he and Paul Mortimer were very accommodating in helping me and Paul gave very honest and candid answers to my questions. Two good people who do genuinely want to help and improve links in the communities.
The people who make the difference, owners of clubs, Chairmen, Heads of Academies should go into the grassroots level of Asian Clubs. They should go and watch the children, watch the coaches and then meet up and discuss the ways forward.
There should be timescales and objectives set so there is a visible outcome from these meetings.
In my interview with Paul Mortimer which you can read (click Interviews tab), Paul says we should gain our qualifications and at least challenge the authorities.
What chance though when you read stories of Eddie Newton and you see high profile managers unable to get into the game?
No black, Asian, ethnic minority footballer or coach has a right to a path into the professional ranks of the game above their white counterparts but they do have the right to be treated equally and fairly without discrimination.
THERE IS RACISM IN FOOTBALL BUT IT IS NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE, IT IS MAINLY BROWN.