SPTT renew call for action on ‘disappointing’ figures

By Michael McCann

The Sports People’s Think Tank (SPTT) have once again renewed their call for the football authorities to up their efforts in addressing the continued under representation of BAME coaches within professional English football.

A report by Dr. Steven Bradbury from Loughborough University, in association with the SPTT and the FARE network, showed that between the 1st September 2015 and 1st September 2016 black, asian and minorty ethnic (BAME) figures represented just 20 out of 493 senior coaching positions, flat-lining from last year.

This leaves the BAME representation at a markedly low 4.1%. In comparison, BAME communities represent approximately 14% of the overall UK population and an estimated 25% of the countries professional football players.

Figures on BAME representation in senior coaching roles, September 2016

The third of five proposed annual reviews regarding levels of BAME coach representation was launched at an All Party Parliamentary Football Group meeting at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday (16 November).

Representatives from the English Football League, Football Association, League Managers Association and Members of Parliament also attended, with Clive Betts MP chairing. The Premier League sent their apologies.


Speaking after the meeting, SPTT founding member Michael Johnson said the lack of overall change cannot be sugar-coated, and that greater boardroom diversity and collaboration between the authorities initiatives is necessary.

“The figures are disappointing and haven’t moved, there is no getting away from that”, said Johnson.

He continued: “The EFL recruitment code is an encouraging step and it will be interesting to see where the Premier League go with this.

“And while it’s not a part of this specific report, it’s worth noting that less than 1% of all board and senior administration positions are held by BAME employees – this just has to change.

“All we are asking for is the same chances for everyone. We need fair opportunities.”

Dr. Bradbury explained that the report was crucial in continuing to raise awareness of the issues surrounding BME coaches, and that the problem was best tackled collectively.

“The findings from the report draw attention to the continued under-representation of BAME coaches in the professional game.

“They also highlight some positive recent developments designed to redress this imbalance.

“These developments should be welcomed, but it is clear the work of the games key stakeholders on this score will be greatly enhanced in the future by a more coordinated approach to this issue than is presently the case.”