Despite the large number of black players in top football clubs, those who run the game are still almost exclusively white, according to a report by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE).
The multi-million pound football industry thrives on the skills of players from all ethnic backgrounds, yet non-white faces make up less than 1 per cent of positions off the field, whether in boardrooms, management or coaching staff, says the report.
It also found that 75 per cent of football clubs have informal recruitment practices, ie. if your face fits, you get the job.
Trevor Phillips, CRE chair, said, “Football’s authorities and clubs are not taking racism seriously. They are clearly not doing enough to promote equal opportunities off the pitch and remove the barriers that prevent ethnic minorities working at all levels of the sport.
“Steps have been taken by football’s governing bodies. Last year the All Agency Review Team was set up to make race equality a priority but clearly more needs to be done,” he said. “It is essential that those in charge of the football industry realise that addressing racial equality is a necessity, not an option.”
The CRE has drawn up an action plan for clubs. It requires:
Organisations to adopt an equal opportunities policy and implementation plan by July 2005
All organisations to review recruitment and selection by November 2005
All organisations to tackle under-representation and develop representative strategies by April 2006
The FA and All Agency Review Team to evaluate equal opportunities policies and provide further support to clubs