Isn’t this a bit racist?

Professional Footballers' Association
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Annoyingly (and bizarrely) I can’t find reference to the story I heard on BBC 5 Live on their website anywhere. Partly because the search facility on the BBC News website is complete crap.

Anyway… the story in question. Apparently there is talk about forcing through some kind of legislation to make football league clubs interview at least a handful of black candidates when the position of manager becomes available. This announcement comes from the PFA who are a little peeved that there are only two “home-grown” black managers working anywhere in the football league.

While I’m 100% for equality, isn’t this a pointless exercise? There are many reasons why black players may not progress into management when they finish their playing careers, but is employer racism really one of them? And is forcing clubs to interview them really going to help when there’s nothing forcing them to employ a black manager anyway? Surely if they’ve decided on one or two candidates (who may happen to be white), interviewing a third who they’ve already decided isn’t in the running is a waste of everyone’s time.

I don’t have figures to hand, but at any one point in time how many players are employed in the football league? And of them how many – regardless of race, nationality, colour, whatever – go into management? I’m thinking a tiny percentage. Now it may be that 25% of players (number off the top of my head) are black, so some would expect that 25% of managers would also be black. But any player is just a human being with their own aspirations and preferences.

A large number of ex-players don’t go into management because they don’t want to. Simple as that. There are other things out there for them. Punditry is one, or simply retiring and enjoying life with their families now they have the time. Management is hugely stressful so surely isn’t going to suit everyone.

As a Newcastle supporter, we’ve had two black managers in fairly recent years. Ruud Gullit didn’t make any friends, but not because of his colour. On the other hand, we went mental when the board flung Chris Hughton out on his ear and hired one of the club owner’s little toadies in his place. Nobody cared about their background, just on the results they could give us.

Simply, I want my club to hire the best man for the job. I’m sure every fan wants the same, regardless of what team they follow. Why should we be aiming for a certain percentage of people of different colour in the role, when it’s completely irrelevant. Experience, drive, education, ability to lead… these are individual qualities all completely unrelated to skin colour.

By forcing clubs to interview black candidates, the PFA would surely be breaking discrimination law by showing favouritism? If there is racism endemic in the hiring process, then by all means lets tackle it. But this isn’t going to do it. A candidate for a job has to sell themselves and a sensible employer will look at what is best for their business. If a candidate is in the interview seat because someone told the boss that they had to interview them (and not because of an impressive CV), then they’re hardly likely to be given the job.

In the worst case, this kind of thing inflames racism. It gives the “white power” numpties more ammunition to use by claiming that favouritism is being shown to the people they want to cause problems for. If a black manager gets appointed, questions will immediately be raised – is he the best for the job, or did they just hire him to bring the number of black managers up in line with what the PFA want?

Stupid idea, stupid policy.

Remember, the aim is for equality. I just, personally, don’t see how that can be achieved by giving anyone an unfair advantage.

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