The Rooney Rule?

The EFL will introduce the Rooney Rule

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What is the Rooney Rule? Here are the pros and cons of the popular diversity initiative.

The push to diversify corporate America and the tech industry has come in fits and starts. For example, big companies like Google and Facebook began publishing their demographic information years ago in a gesture of accountability. And yet the most recent version of the influential Atlassian report found that progress toward workplace diversity may actually be trending in the wrong direction.

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Will the Rooney Rule give BAME managers more of a chance in football?

By Joe Harker

The English Football League has committed to new regulations on coaching recruitment, adopting the Rooney Rule.

It guarantees at least one candidate from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background will be part of the interview process for managerial jobs in an effort to make football more representative.

The regulations come after EFL clubs agreed to an 18 month trial period when jobs became available.

The Claim:

The BBC reports that the EFL wants to "help address the under-representation" in football.

The regulations extend to all first team vacancies which means the coaching setup will provide more opportunities for BAME coaches and managers.

EFL clubs that want to appoint a new member of their coaching staff and open up an interview process will have to ensure at least one BAME candidate is part of the process.

Football is seen as having a serious problem in giving opportunities to BAME staff looking for managerial and coaching opportunities.

Even with the high turnover of managers in football there are so few opportunities being given to BAME coaches, the implementation of the Rooney Rule should help redress this balance and help the sport become more representative.

The Counter Claim:

The Rooney Rule does have some some criticisms from people who've seen it in action in the US.

Sometimes criticised as "checking the box", the Rooney Rule will struggle if clubs don't properly implement it and the candidate knows they are part of the process because there are quotas to fulfill.

The point of the rule is not to ensure a token candidate is at the interviews, the clubs need to take the commitment to giving BAME candidates a chance seriously.

Something the Rooney Rule might struggle with is changing attitudes higher up in the game. If football is riddled with structural problems that have blocked BAME coaches then making clubs interview at least one for a job is treating a symptom rather than a cause.

EFL clubs have been using the Rooney Rule on a trial period for 18 months and there are only three BAME managers in the EFL, that is appallingly low and one would have hoped that figure would be higher by now.

The Facts:

As this is being written there are only four BAME managers working in the top four leagues of English football.

Nuno Espírito Santo of Wolves, Keith Curle of Northampton Town, Dino Maamria at Stevenage and Sol Campbell at Macclesfield Town are the only ones, with the former the only BAME manager in the Premier League.

It is hoped that the Premier League will follow the EFL's lead as part of the radical change needed in football.

The Rooney Rule is named after NFL diversity chairman Dan Rooney, who introduced the policy in American football.

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