• Football

Webb: Black players becoming 'demoralised'

ESPN staff
October 29, 2013
Jeffrey Webb believes English football does not fairly represent the country's cultural diversity © Getty Images

FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb believes black and ethnic minority players are not getting the relevant opportunities to coach and manage after they finish their careers in the English game.

Webb, who is also head of the FIFA anti-racism task force, stated that many non-white players are becoming "demoralised" over the issue.

Following Chris Kiwomya's decision to leave Notts County by mutual consent, there are now only three black managers in the top four divisions of English football.

We are not getting opportunities - Johnson

  • Birmingham City coach Michael Johnson has expressed serious concern over the lack of black managers and board room members in English football.
  • Speaking to BBC Radio 5Live, Johnson said: "We have three black managers at the helm and when you look at boardroom level, we have none. The stats are alarming. There does seem to be a trend that we are not getting opportunities
  • "I think it's a lack of education from the guys upstairs, the board members who seem to think that black players are OK to go and play for their club, but when it comes to managing or stepping upstairs into the boardroom, that might be a problem.
  • "I wouldn't say it's racist but I think there are some severe problems with some people maybe not thinking that a black player is educated enough to go upstairs in a boardroom capacity.
  • "A black player may be well thought of as a player, but may not be thought of as a manager in their eyes."

Norwich boss Chris Hughton is the only black manager in the Premier League, while Chris Powell and Paul Ince both manage in the Championship.

Webb, who has held meetings with Jason Roberts and Yaya Toure during his visit of England, has called for the game to start reflecting the cultural diversity shown throughout the country's communities.

"There's a lot of young players coming through," Webb told BBC Sport. "I understand that more than 30% of the league is made up of people of African descent and over 71 different nationalities playing in the Premier League. But it's not reflected, they're not getting an opportunity [to manage].

"And many of them are becoming very demoralised and these are issues of course that we hope the FA will take on and that of the Premier League. The [English] game must reflect society and the community. It doesn't do so."

Webb's statement follows a period of unrest for the FA. A commission set up by chairman Greg Dyke aimed at improving the England national team recently received criticism for its lack of representation on the panel.

FA board member Heather Rabbatts slammed the commission for a "lack of diversity", although former England captain Rio Ferdinand and current manager Roy Hodgson have since been named on the panel.

Other black managers to have led sides in the league include Leroy Rosenior and Keith Curle, who were both in charge of Torquay United at one point or another, and the late Keith Alexander, who was Macclesfield boss when he passed away in 2010.

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