London, June 29, 2020 (AFP) - The Premier League, English Football League and Professional Footballers' Association have set up a scheme aimed at increasing the number of coaches from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The placement programme, jointly funded by the Premier League and the PFA, is designed to help footballers make the transition to playing to coaching.
It will be open to all PFA members from a black, Asian or other ethnic minority background and will initially provide up to six coaches per season with a 23-month placement at an English Football League club.
It will have its first intake for the 2020/21 season.
Darren Moore, chairman of the Premier League's black participants' advisory group, said: "We all know and agree that the diversity of coaches and managers must increase and this placement scheme represents a positive step."
The lack of representation of black people in senior leadership roles in the sport has been in the spotlight because of the increased focus worldwide on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling has questioned why so few black ex-players have made the transition into coaching or other high-profile roles within football clubs.
At present, only six of the 91 Premier League and EFL managers or head coaches are from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background, according to the BBC.
Since last year, EFL clubs have been required to interview at least one candidate from an ethnic minority background for every coaching or managerial vacancy when they run a full recruitment process with a shortlist.
The PFA pointed out though that it is often the case that appointments are made mid-season without a full process, and urged the EFL to update its regulations to cover all appointments.
Referring to the scheme, EFL chief executive David Baldwin said: "We know the game needs to do more to ensure the diversity and inclusivity we see on the pitch week in, week out, leads to better representation in coaching and managing if we are to embed significant change for the future."