Dwight Yorke has hit out at the lack of opportunities given to black football managers not just in the British game but across Europe’s top five leagues.
Speaking on Sports Tonight in Dubai, Yorke launched a impassioned defence of the candidacy of high profile black footballers who he believes are discriminated against at all levels of club football.
“I know for a fact that one of the top goal scorers in Premier League history [Andy Cole] refused to do his badges because he genuinely thinks he won’t be given a chance. And he is classed as one of the best” said Yorke.
“He said ‘Dwight, it’s a waste of time’.”
The statistics certainly give credence to that assertion. Of the 92 managers employed across the four divisions of English football at present only three are black: Chris Hughton (Brighton), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Northampton Town) and Keith Curle (Carlisle United).
There are none in either the Spanish, Italian or German top-flights while Guingamp’s Antoine Kombouare is the only black manager in France’s Ligue 1.
“Obviously it’s up the owners to choose who they want to be managers of their football club,” continues Yorke, who was an integral part of Manchester United’s Treble winning side of 1999.
“But I know now being outside the game doing my coaching badges that it’s difficult to get an interview, let alone a job, even someone as high profile as me in terms of what I’ve achieved in the game.”
“The reality is that the people at the top in the game from the PFA across the board really need to speak out about it.”
The recent implementation of a ‘Rooney Rule’ for English Football League (EFL) academy jobs in a bid to increase the number of black and ethnic minority (BME) coaches, has done little to placate Yorke’s fears.
Originally established in American Football in 2003, it stipulates that all NFL sides must interview a minimum of one BME candidate for head coach and senior football vacancies.
In its current guise in English football, the 72 EFL clubs must include at least one suitably qualified BME candidate on the interview shortlist if such an application is received.
“The Rooney Rule is a courtesy gesture that is still not even happening”, laments Yorke.
Asked whether the Premier League’s fascination with a continental brand of football and in turn foreign managers is counting against both black and British managers, Yorke retorted: “It’s about an opportunity.
“If you don’t have an opportunity how will you know what I can produce – you just wouldn’t know. And that’s all we are saying, we’re just not given a chance of going into management.”