English FA warned to mind language in ad for top job

The Football Association (FA) could be breaking the law if it specifies that only ‘British’ or ‘English’ candidates, such as Sam Allardyce, will be considered for the England coach position.

Premier League chairman Dave Richards, one of a three-man panel recruiting Sven-Goran Eriksson’s successor, recently said: “I do believe it’s time for a British manager.”

But under the Race Relations Act (1976), it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against a person on racial grounds when recruiting new staff.

Michael Ball, employment partner at law firm Halli-wells, said: “Employers should avoid drafting person specifications that could potentially be discriminatory. They are advised to include only the criteria needed to perform the duties in the job satisfactorily.

“Only when there is a genuine occupational requirement for a person to be of a certain nationality is it legal to advertise this. But it would be difficult to prove this is the case for the England coach.”

If a discrimination claim was submitted and the tribunal decided in favour of the claimant, it could cost the FA £25,000 plus interest for injury to feelings. The court could also add an award for loss of opportunity.

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