Webb supports ´Rooney rule´

9 October 2014 05:27

FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb called for the introduction of the ‘Rooney Rule’, with racism in football clear to see.

Professional Footballers’ Association CEO Gordon Taylor has claimed there is “hidden racism” in football when it comes to appointing black managers.

The rule is named after Dan Rooney, the ex-Pittsburgh Steelers president, who abided by giving leadership opportunities to African Americans.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho also insisted there is no racism in football, while the Portuguese dismissed the need for the Rooney Rule – which is adopted by the NFL and requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.

But Webb – the anti-discrimination chief – had a different view when he responded to those comments at the Leaders in Sports conference in London.

The 50-year-old, who is also president of CONCACAF, said racism was overt in the game and said it is time for English football to follow in the footsteps of the NFL when it comes to the Rooney rule.

“I don’t know how it could be hidden. You have 92 clubs, you have two coaches of colour,” said Webb.

“How many board members or executives are in various club positions or at the FA, in UEFA? So, it’s not hidden.

“It’s hidden from a discussion standpoint. No-one wants to deal with it. No-one wants to deal with it from a commercial standpoint.”

Out of the 92 clubs in England’s top four football divisions, only two employ a black manager with Chris Powell in charge at Huddersfield and Keith Curle in the Carlisle United hot seat.

Webb said it is up to the owners, especially those with an American background, to initiate change in the game.

“It has to come within. It has to come from the clubs. It has to start with clubs. It has to start with ownership,” he added.

“How many American owners do we have from English Premier League clubs in the UK?

“So, why have certain standards here and then, of course, in the US, in the NFL leagues, where you live, where you conduct business, you live by different standards? Why?

“If it’s good there, why wouldn’t it be good here?”