Hughton applauds The FA's version of the 'Rooney Rule'

Brighton manager Chris Hughton has applauded The FA's decision to introduce their own version of the 'Rooney Rule'.

Albion boss Chris Hughton. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Albion boss Chris Hughton. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

In 2003, the NFL introduced the Rooney Rule, named after Dan Rooney, which required American football franchises to interview at least one black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidate and The FA will now interview at least one applicant from a BAME background for future roles in the England set-up.

A study by Sports People's Think Tank earlier this year showed just 22 out of 482 senior coaches at professional clubs in England are from BAME backgrounds and only ten of those work at first-team level.

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Brighton boss Hughton is the only BAME manager in the Premier League and there are just four others in English professional football - Nuno Esprito Santo (Wolves), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Northampton), Keith Curle (Carlisle) and Jack Lester (Chesterfield).

Hughton said: "It's a subject I've spoken quite a lot about, particularly over the last year.

"I certainly feel for The FA to make the decision they have made is something that's very promising and very worthwhile.

"I would certainly applaud what they have done and see it as a positive.

"All we want on this subject is for progress to be made and eventually to see more black and ethnic coaches involved at the higher levels of the game.

"Anything that can promote and help that is very much worthwhile.

"The rule itself is set up not to give black and ethnic minority candidates jobs, it's to give them the opportunities to get jobs. But we are working in a very multi-cultural environment now as regards players and grassroots and starting very much at academy (level).

"We just want the right representation at the top levels of our game. That includes management, decision-makers, CEO's. I think that's what everybody would want."

Former Derby and Birmingham defender Michael Johnson - one of the founders of Sports People's Think Tank - said: "Nobody is saying the Rooney Rule is going to get a black manager a job. It’s about giving black managers a chance to be selected for an interview.

"I know a lot of players that are retiring and have no desire of becoming managers because of the lack of opportunities to coach.”

Johnson feels Seagulls boss Hughton is a role model for BAME coaches and added: “It is massively important to have a role model like Chris Hughton.

“He is a role model not just to people of colour but everybody. But there is pressure that has been put on him as we don’t have too many black managers in the top European leagues, let alone the Premier League.

“The game needs Chris Hughton. He is a man who got the role on merit down at Brighton and is an inspiration for many managers to not give up and keep going. It’s not just him managers like Keith Curle, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Jack Lester are also inspirations for aspiring black managers, even though they are operating at the lower end of the league spectrum as is shows that if they can do it anyone can do it, anyone can.”