The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has announced that it is going to look into the implementation of the 'Rooney rule' in a bid to increase the number of black managers in the game. Currently, there are just two black managers out of the 92 English league teams - Chris Hughton of Birmingham City and Chris Powell of Charlton Athletic.
The 'Rooney Rule' is named after the owner of the American National Football League (NFL) team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dan Rooney is also the chairman of the NFL's diversity committee. He is credited with successfully pressurising the NFL to introduce the rule which requires that all teams must interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football positions.
The man who drafted the rule, Cyrus Mehri, is currently in discussions with the PFA, the League Managers' Association, the Football Association, the Football League and the Premier League. PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor has argued that this form of "positive discrimination" is very much needed in the game, stating "in football terms, we are the most cosmopolitan country in the world, however... for some reason the number of black people who actually get a chance in this area is very small."
In response to the new proposals however, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has warned that the rule might contravene the law arguing: "you couldn't only shortlist people because they were black. You should only be employing the best person for the job." But Gordon Taylor has insisted that it will continue to investigate the possibility of putting the rule into practice in the English game saying "twenty years ago, Cyrille Regis and Luther Blissett did not try to pursue management as they did not feel they would get a proper chance. In 2011, it is in no-one's interests for potential managers to be put off for similar reasons. We will not be taking this off our agenda."