Former England and Chelsea footballer Eni Aluko has called for intentional change to the way football can become more multicultural. These calls came after discussion increased regarding the lack of BAME representation off the pitch in the Premier League, not just with managers and coaching staff, but also further staff behind the scenes and ownership.
Aluko questioned whether those at the top were ‘fishing in a wide enough pool’ or whether those at the top are just ‘recruiting from the people we know and that look like us,’ as she spoke about how a lot of former players were put off perusing a managerial or coaching career due to the lack of opportunities; ‘we’ve lost a lot of black coaches from the game who just don’t believe that the pathway is there.’
Further upon this, it was stated that the coaches also do not need to be former footballers. As mentioned by Aluko, the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t necessarily play in the upper echelons of the game, and she suggested focus could be on ’diversity of thought.’
One solution put forward was that the Premier League could implement a rule similar to the one they have done with home-grown footballers. This rule, introduced in 2010, has led to English clubs investing heavily in their academies, leading to benefits both for the clubs and players themselves, and ultimately the national team. Aluko has suggested that a similar rule with BAME representatives, will have similar benefits and lead to an increase in quality coaches.