The Beautiful Game! Football!
Soccer, if you're from the other side of the Atlantic. Football has always produced passion and joy for whoever watches the game. Many world-class players are becoming managers whereas many still seek the opportunity of coaching in the European elite leagues. Black and other ethnic minority ex-players seek and have these dreams too but struggle to get the chance to become world-class managers. It is a shame that a game as beautiful as football breeds systemic racism.
The game, Football, is from China. The Chinese game "Tsu-Chu or Cuju", meaning kicking the ball, was an ancient game from China, (SoccerBlade, 2022). The long-lived sport has become thriving and sought-after. The English football association established the modern rule of Football in 1863, (SoccerBlade, 2022). Football has progressed further since then. The sport now includes technological advancements—the addition of Goal-line technology (Hawk-eye) and VAR (Video Assistant Referee).
The Premier League is a dynamic and entertaining football league. Many star-studded athletes have played in the Premier League, won individual awards, and showcased stellar performances from players such as Didier Drogba, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ngolo Kante, and Virgil Van Dijk with most players not being homegrown but foreign talents that have blessed the league.
Since the introduction of the Premier League in 1992, the Premier League has generated a wave of talent. The growth of the premier league has developed the style of Football played in England. The England national team has benefitted from the Football displayed in the PL. England's national team has transformed since last decade with the men's team reaching the semi-final of the World Cup in 2018 and the first-ever final since 1966 at Euro 2020. The majority of England's national squad plays in the Premier League. Most of England's World Cup 2022 national team players are of British heritage whilst, some of the players are black & mixed race with African or Caribbean heritage - 39.13% (9/23). For clarity, Bukayo Saka is of Nigerian descent. Raheem Sterling is of Jamaican descent. Marcus Rashford is of Saint Kitts and Nevis descent. Need I say more?
Many ex-pro black players in the premier league have had successful careers yet, they were not given opportunities off the pitch to become managers. However, many caucasian ex-professionals are managers in prominent clubs in leagues such as La Liga yet, Black ex-professionals are being overlooked or given lower-league management roles in League two or League one. According to the Black Footballers Partnership, from 2004, players across the Premier League and Football League received a UEFA Pro Licence. The qualification is the highest professional qualification available to managers. About three-quarters held management positions in either league in 2021. Yet, 23 percent of them were Black.
I believe one reason there are not enough black managers is due to poor experiences as a player, underpayment, and being treated poorly in comparison to their white teammates,(Szymanski, 1997). Another reason is the lack of black owners in the PL and English Football leagues. Owners have an integral voice in the type of players or managers their club appoints.
Currently, the Premier League has one black manager, Patrice Viera for Crystal Palace. The championship has four black managers. League One has two Black managers, and league two has one Black manager. The ball is moving. So long may it continue as a wave of incredible young black footballers in the UK rise in academy football. It indicates that more ethics coaches and managers are necessary as representation MATTERS.
Written by Yeni Fadiya.
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