Current Students and Staff

// University News

10 Nov 2014

Research supports new group challenging the lack of BME football coaches

A Loughborough University academic is supporting the launch of a new pressure group that aims to address the lack of coaches from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups working for professional football clubs in England.

Dr Steven Bradbury, a lecturer in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, will present findings from his research at the launch of the Sports People’s Think Tank, being held in Westminster today.

Despite the longstanding involvement of some BME groups as professional players, there has been only a minimal throughput of players into coaching and management positions at professional clubs.

At present only two out of 92 professional football clubs in England currently have managers from a BME background - Chris Powell at Huddersfield Town and Keith Curle at Carlisle United.

Also only 19 out of 552 senior coaching positions at all 92 professional clubs are held by coaches from BME backgrounds, 3.4% of all positions of this kind.

Dr Bradbury’s research has pinpointed four inter-related themes for the under-representation of BME coaches in English professional football:

  • Limited access to and negative experiences of high level coach education courses
  • Over-reliance of professional clubs on ‘networks based’ methods of coach recruitment
  • Conscious and unconscious racial bias and stereotypes in the coaching workplace
  • Consequent lack of BME coach role models as a disincentive to pursue professional coaching careers.

The findings to be presented in Westminster are taken from a wider University project which is examining the factors informing the under-representation of BME coaches in England, France and the Netherlands.

This wider research has been funded by the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) Network and will be presented to an invited audience of UEFA delegates in Amsterdam in December 2014.

Further details can be found in the press release.