老澳门六合彩

Black coaches are rare in soccer. Is this because of a lack of diversity in the boardroom?

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) 鈥 Ricky Hill packed his bags and prepared to uproot his life again. Next stop: Chicago. The former England international soccer player is accustomed to making sacrifices and traveling far to build his coaching career, an effort he says has been stymied because he is Black.

鈥淚t is something that I hate to do because home is where the heart is,鈥 Hill said of leaving behind his wife of 38 years and his 99-year-old mother to chase a rare management opportunity.

Racism has long permeated the world鈥檚 most popular sport, with players subjected to racist chants and taunts online. While soccer governing bodies such as FIFA and UEFA have taken steps to combat the abuse of players, the lack of diversity in the upper ranks at major clubs remains an unsolved problem.

Former England international soccer player Ricky Hill poses for a photograph in Luton, England, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. Racism has long permeated the world鈥檚 most popular sport, with soccer players subjected to racist chants and taunts online. While governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA have taken steps to combat the abuse of players, the lack of diversity in the upper ranks at major clubs remains an unsolved problem. Hill has just left the U.K. to take a management position with a suburban Chicago soccer club. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Former England international soccer player Ricky Hill poses for a photograph in Luton, England, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

鈥淚t鈥檚 two fights for equality,鈥 Hill told 老澳门六合彩.

Hill 鈥 who as a teenager in the 1970s was among the first generation of Black players in England 鈥 says he routinely faced racist abuse from fans when he played for Luton Town.

鈥淵ou would hear songs about you, see people spitting, that kind of vitriolic behavior.鈥

That racism, he says, has continued to hold him back in the pursuit of his top-flight coaching dream.

Former England international soccer player Ricky Hill poses for a photograph in Luton, England, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. Racism has long permeated the world鈥檚 most popular sport, with soccer players subjected to racist chants and taunts online. While governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA have taken steps to combat the abuse of players, the lack of diversity in the upper ranks at major clubs remains an unsolved problem. Hill has just left the U.K. to take a management position with a suburban Chicago soccer club. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Former England international soccer player Ricky Hill poses for a photograph in Luton, England, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

鈥淭he difficulty we鈥檝e had as racially diverse individuals and Black individuals, specifically, is there is no way of showing your worth as a coach or manager without actually having the opportunity to do so,鈥 he said.

The issue needs to be considered 鈥渢hrough a Black lens,鈥 Delroy Corinaldi, co-founder of the British-based advocacy group Black Footballers Partnership, told The AP.

A BFP report in 2022 found that while some 43% of players in England鈥檚 Premier League are Black, only 4% land coaching jobs in English professional soccer. There are currently only two Black managers in the Premier League.

Former England international soccer player Ricky Hill poses with a copy of his book for a photograph in Luton, England, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. Racism has long permeated the world鈥檚 most popular sport, with soccer players subjected to racist chants and taunts online. While governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA have taken steps to combat the abuse of players, the lack of diversity in the upper ranks at major clubs remains an unsolved problem. Hill has just left the U.K. to take a management position with a suburban Chicago soccer club. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Former England international soccer player Ricky Hill poses with a copy of his book for a photograph in Luton, England, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

WIDER PROBLEM

Under-representation is not just an English problem. There are only two Black head coaches in France鈥檚 Ligue 1, one in Italy鈥檚 Serie A, and none in the top divisions of Spain and Germany.

Wilfried Nancy, who is French, built his coaching career with Montreal in Canada and he now leads Ohio鈥檚 championship-winning Columbus Crew. He is the only Black head coach in MLS.

FILE - Columbus Crew coach Wilfried Nancy directs his team against CF Montreal during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. Nancy, who is French, built his coaching career with Montreal in Canada and he now leads Ohio's championship-winning Columbus Crew. He is the only Black head coach in MLS. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon, File)

FILE - Columbus Crew coach Wilfried Nancy directs his team against CF Montreal during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon, File)

Nancy is puzzled by the lack of diversity in soccer coaching in Europe and the U.S.

鈥淎 lot of people like me, we have a lot of competency, but they don鈥檛 have the opportunity for the moment to do it,鈥 he said.

Hill is standing up to racism in the sport. In 2022, he sued MLS and the USL Championship claiming discrimination after repeatedly being overlooked for jobs despite his decorated coaching career with Tampa Bay Rowdies and in Trinidad and Tobago.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

A lack of diversity in boardrooms may be the root of the problem.

The Football Association in England launched a leadership diversity code in 2020, setting hiring targets to address inequality. Yet its most recent report in November said workforce representation still does not reflect the diversity of players. Of last season鈥檚 hires, the report said, 9% of senior leaders, 11% of team operations, 16% of coaches and 9% of senior coaches were Black, Asian or of mixed heritage.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham admits there is 鈥渟till a huge amount of work to be done.鈥

FILE - Burnley manager Vincent Kompany gestures to his players during the English League Cup fourth round soccer match against Manchester United, at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. Racism has long permeated the world鈥檚 most popular sport, with soccer players subjected to racist chants and taunts online. While governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA have taken steps to combat the abuse of players, the lack of diversity in the upper ranks at major clubs remains an unsolved problem. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson, File)

FILE - Burnley manager Vincent Kompany gestures to his players during the English League Cup fourth round soccer match against Manchester United, at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson, File)

Burnley coach Vincent Kompany, who is Black, said this must be addressed to effect real change.

鈥淚f you have a boardroom that鈥檚 diverse, you can鈥檛 brush things under the carpet,鈥 Kompany said.

The Premier League鈥檚 Coach Inclusion and Diversity Scheme aims to increase minority representation in coaching. The initiative provides coaches with a bursary and work placements.

Yet the BFP鈥檚 latest report found that non-Black former players are 50% more likely than their Black counterparts to progress into management in England, and Black managers or assistants are 41% more likely to be fired.

鈥淭hey are less likely to get in. Once they get in they are less likely to get promoted. And once they do get promoted they are more likely to get fired,鈥 one of the report鈥檚 authors, Stefan Szymanski, a professor of sport management at the University of Michigan, told AP. 鈥淚鈥檇 like to hear what an explanation of this is, other than racism.鈥

TOP JOBS

Two of the biggest coaching jobs in soccer will become available at the end of the season. And while it is not yet clear who will fill the positions at Liverpool and Bayern Munich, it鈥檚 highly unlikely the successful candidates will be Black.

The standout favorite is Xabi Alonso, who is less than two years into his first job as head coach with Bayer Leverkusen. Alonso, who is white, had a distinguished playing career with Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern, and Bayer is on course to win the German title this season.

Former Premier League player Troy Deeney speaks during an interview in London, Thursday, March 21, 2024. Racism has long permeated the world鈥檚 most popular sport, with soccer players subjected to racist chants and taunts online. While governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA have taken steps to combat the abuse of players, the lack of diversity in the upper ranks at major clubs remains an unsolved problem. Deeney was hired as head coach of fourth tier Forest Green Rovers in December, but was fired less than a month later. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Former Premier League player Troy Deeney speaks during an interview in London, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

鈥淵ou have to be fair. Who鈥檚 qualified to do that job?鈥 former Premier League player Troy Deeney told AP. 鈥淧art of the argument isn鈥檛 to just say, 鈥楪ive Black people, women, whoever you think is marginalized, just give them the job.鈥 Who鈥檚 the Black manager that鈥檚 doing really well at the moment that deserves that job?鈥

Ruud Gullit, then one of the most celebrated players in the world, became the Premier League鈥檚 first Black manager when he was appointed by Chelsea in 1996. Multiple Champions League-winner Clarence Seedorf was hired by Italian giant AC Milan in 2014. He lasted only four months.

But high-profile Black players are more commonly hired as coaches to low-level teams.

FILE - One of the hosts, former Dutch soccer player Ruud Gullit poses for a photo before the Best FIFA Football Awards Ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. Racism has long permeated the world鈥檚 most popular sport, with soccer players subjected to racist chants and taunts online. While governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA have taken steps to combat the abuse of players, the lack of diversity in the upper ranks at major clubs remains an unsolved problem. Gullit, then one of the most celebrated players in the world, became the Premier League's first Black manager when he was appointed by Chelsea in 1996. (Valeriano Di Domenico/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - One of the hosts, former Dutch soccer player Ruud Gullit poses for a photo before the Best FIFA Football Awards Ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (Valeriano Di Domenico/Pool Photo via AP, File)
FILE - AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf signals to his players during a Champions League, round of 16, second leg, soccer match between Atletico Madrid and AC Milan at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Tuesday March 11, 2014. Racism has long permeated the world's most popular sport, with soccer players subjected to racist chants and taunts online. While governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA have taken steps to combat the abuse of players, the lack of diversity in the upper ranks at major clubs remains an unsolved problem. Seedorf was hired by Italian giant AC Milan in 2014 but lasted only four months. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)
FILE - AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf signals to his players during a Champions League, round of 16, second leg, soccer match between Atletico Madrid and AC Milan at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Tuesday March 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)

Former England internationals Paul Ince and Sol Campbell began their managerial careers with then-fourth division team Macclesfield. Ince鈥檚 only top-flight job was with Blackburn in 2008. He was fired after less than six months and has not been hired by a Premier League club since.

FILE - Reading manager Paul Ince gestures to his players during the English FA Cup 4th round soccer match between Manchester United and Reading at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. Racism has long permeated the world's most popular sport, with soccer players subjected to racist chants and taunts online. While governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA have taken steps to combat the abuse of players, the lack of diversity in the upper ranks at major clubs remains an unsolved problem. Ince began his managerial career with then-fourth division team Macclesfield. His only top flight job was with Blackburn in 2008. He was fired after less than six months and has not been hired by a Premier League club since. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)

FILE - Reading manager Paul Ince gestures to his players during the English FA Cup 4th round soccer match between Manchester United and Reading at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)

Meanwhile, Campbell鈥檚 ex-England teammate, Frank Lampard, who is white, has held three Premier League coaching positions on the back of his one year at second division Derby.

Deeney was hired as head coach of fourth-tier Forest Green Rovers in December, but was fired less than a month later. He remains determined.

鈥淚f the reports coming out are suggesting the scale is tipped not in my favor, it doesn鈥檛 mean I don鈥檛 play the game. It just means I鈥檝e got to play the game harder than everybody else,鈥 he said.

Former Premier League player Troy Deeney speaks during an interview in London, Thursday, March 21, 2024. Racism has long permeated the world鈥檚 most popular sport, with soccer players subjected to racist chants and taunts online. While governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA have taken steps to combat the abuse of players, the lack of diversity in the upper ranks at major clubs remains an unsolved problem. Deeney was hired as head coach of fourth tier Forest Green Rovers in December, but was fired less than a month later. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Former Premier League player Troy Deeney speaks during an interview in London, Thursday, March 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Hill had a four-month spell as manager of Luton, then in the third tier of English soccer, and has struggled to find work in England ever since. He has just taken a position as executive director of Evolution Soccer in suburban Chicago.

鈥淭he industry is such that everyone wants to stay in it and only a certain number of people can,鈥 he said. 鈥淏ut, disproportionately, Black people do not manage to stay within the game at a far greater rate than anyone else.鈥

Former England international soccer player Ricky Hill poses for a photograph in Luton, England, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. Racism has long permeated the world鈥檚 most popular sport, with soccer players subjected to racist chants and taunts online. While governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA have taken steps to combat the abuse of players, the lack of diversity in the upper ranks at major clubs remains an unsolved problem. Hill has just left the U.K. to take a management position with a suburban Chicago soccer club. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Former England international soccer player Ricky Hill poses for a photograph in Luton, England, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

A POSSIBLE SOLUTION

Inspiration could be drawn from the U.S., where the formerly white-dominated NFL implemented rules to try to level the playing field for people of color seeking positions as head coaches, general managers and executives.

The Rooney Rule requires teams to interview at least one person of color for a head coach position, and if any team loses a minority coach or executive to another team, it is awarded compensatory picks in upcoming drafts.

The system has paid off.

In the NFL, four minority head coaches have been hired this year and there鈥檚 a record nine coaches of color entering the 2024 season.

A similar scheme was adopted by England soccer鈥檚 lower divisions in 2019, but statistics show diversity remains an issue.

Last week, the government introduced legislation to create an independent regulator in English soccer. Szymanski said this could push clubs to commit to diversity where FA and Premier League incentives have failed.

鈥淚 would say voluntary arrangements have shown themselves not to be satisfactory,鈥 he said. 鈥淵ou need some kind of regulation to push the clubs to embrace change.鈥

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