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‘The lack of opportunities for black people is a massive problem’ - Dyer on the Rooney Rule

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 June 2020

Kieron Dyer hopes to move into management one day. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Kieron Dyer hopes to move into management one day. Picture: ROSS HALLS

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Former Ipswich Town star Kieron Dyer has backed the Rooney Rule to help improve the current lack of opportunities for black coaches in the English game.

The Rooney Rule, which started in the NFL and is named after former Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, has been adopted by the EFL (not yet the Premier League) and requires clubs to interview at least one candidate from a BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) background when appointing a new manager. It has been criticised, though, for the fact it only applies when clubs officially draw up a shortlist for their vacancy.

There are currently only six managers from BAME backgrounds currently working in the top four divisions of English football.

Dyer, as part of the True Geordie Kick-Off Podcast, spoke at length during a discussion on issues relating to race and racism in football and said he has changed his mind regarding the rule

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He said: “Talking about racism in football, I remember when the Rooney Rule was coming into England I did an interview along with Titus Bramble with a reporter and I said ‘I don’t want a job because of the colour of my skin, I want to because I earnt the job’ and that I didn’t believe in this Rooney Rule.

Kieron Dyer (right) left Ipswich Town last summer. Picture: ROSS HALLSKieron Dyer (right) left Ipswich Town last summer. Picture: ROSS HALLS

“And I must have had about six or seven black players going mental at me. Darren Lewis, the black reporter from the Mirror, wrote a scathing report, absolutely hammering us as well.

“And then as I’m trying to get coaching roles and I see the lack of opportunities for black people, it’s a massive problem in this country.

“This Black Lives Matter movement is big, the last time I saw a movement like this was the Me Too movement with women.

“Something feels different now and this movement now, the protests all around the world, I just think now that there is going to be a change.”

Dyer, who has management ambitions of his own, was asked if he believes the Rooney Rule could help change the imbalance in this country.

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He said: “I think so, but the Rooney Rule has been in place for a while (in the EFL) but they can get around it.

“The FA, when they invited us black coaches to go for observation, I thought ‘You know what, it’s all a PR scheme - look at what we’re doing for the black coaches out there’.

“But at least Gareth Southgate has now taken Chris Powell on full-time as one of his coaching staff.

“I couldn’t believe that when I turned up with the England U19s two-thirds of the England U19s squad were black players, I couldn’t believe how many black players there were.

“And then I looked around all the staff, and there was not one black member of staff. I’m just thinking it doesn’t add up at all.”

Dyer left his role working with Town’s Under 18s last August and has spent the last year working with coaches and clubs across Europe in a bid to expand his knowledge and experience with the ultimate aim of becoming a manager in his own right.


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