Lack of black managers at our football clubs

manager Keith Curle. Photo: Simon Cooper/PA Wire

manager Keith Curle. Photo: Simon Cooper/PA Wire

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The footballing world has been chattering quite a bit in the last few months about the dearth of club managers with a black skin.

With only three of the 72 Football League teams – Huddersfield Town (Chris Powell), Carlisle United (Keith Curle) and Burton Albion (Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink) – having a black manager, and none of the Premier League clubs having one, there have been calls for more to be put in charge, with some advocates saying a piece of American legislation called the Rooney Rule should apply to all vacancies.

But there is another area of the game which is even more devoid of representation from the black and ethnic community, and it is one that seems to have attracted no comment from the proponents of managerial change – that of referees.

Since the retirement of top official Uriah Rennie several years ago, Mr Pendle cannot recall seeing a referee with a black skin at the highest level of the game in this country.

The lack of numbers is baffling on the face of it, but there could be a simple reason for it – how do we know there have been large numbers of black-skinned applicants for managerial and refereeing posts who have been turned down?

And if so, do we know why – is it because of the colour of their skin (and if so, Mr Pendle shares the abhorrence of such a decision), or is it because the other candidates were better qualified, which at the end of the day is the thing that really matters?