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Football: Taylor backs 'Rooney Rule' to make an impact

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Players union chief Gordon Taylor insists the PFA's equivalent of American Football's 'Rooney Rule' will help improve the number of black managers in the English game.

Together with the Football League, the PFA is pushing ahead with its radical new Coaching Fair Play plan.

Taylor hopes it will help the large percentage of black players in the professional game transfer into the managerial ranks in more acceptable numbers.

There are presently five black managers in the 92-club English professional game; Norwich's Chris Hughton, Charlton's Chris Powell, Paul Ince at Blackpool, Edgar Davids at Barnet and Chris Kiwomya at Notts County.

But that could change thanks to Cyrus Mehri, the American lawyer who drove through the Rooney Rule in NFL.

The Rooney Rule, named after the Pittsburgh Steelers' owner Dan Rooney, was set up to ensure at least one minority candidate was interviewed for every NFL head coaching position.

"People are always more comfortable with other people who are the same as them; language, colour. It is almost defensive," said Taylor.

"Owners have been more than happy to have black players on the pitch, and black managers from abroad such as Ruud Gullit and Jean Tigana, but the overall figures are not in line with numbers on the pitch.

"It is not going to happen overnight but we need more representation in senior positions

"We need role models for black managers the same as we had for players.

"It is a shock that racism is still a topic when we have made such progress but as we have seen with the crowd trouble over the weekend, we should never dream of slacking up on any of the issues we have made progress with, because the minute we do, it all comes out of the bottle again."

The largely behind-the-scenes efforts of anti-racism groups have been inadequate for some high profile stars.

Jason Roberts was amongst the leading critics, but it was also felt Rio and Anton Ferdinand did not feel they were given enough support during the months around John Terry's racism trial.

"It is about making it fairer," said Taylor.

"In politics they found there were not enough females in the House of Commons, so they came up with the idea of shortlists having to have women on them.

"The basic principle is the same. No-one is telling owners who to employ. It is letting them know they are people out there because frankly, the whole process of selection with regard to managers and coaches is causing a fair amount of embarrassment."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130417/football-taylor-backs-rooney-rule-make-impact