Former England international Eni Aluko calls for 30% of leadership roles in sport to be given to people from BAME backgrounds as she tells MPs there is a ‘glass ceiling’ for black people in coaching and boardrooms
- The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted issues in sports leadership
- Eni Aluko appeared at a DCMS committee hearing on Tuesday morning
- She said targets would be useful in helping to change the current situation
Aston Villa Women sporting director Eni Aluko feels a target of 30 per cent of leadership roles in sport being occupied by individuals from ethnic minorities would be a ‘good one’.
The current Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted the discrepancy between on-pitch representation for people from BAME backgrounds and the lack of managers and boardroom representatives.
Eni Aluko said 30 per cent of leadership roles in sport should be occupied by BAME individuals
The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted the lack of diversity in leadership roles
Aluko – a 102-cap England international – faced racism herself, complaining to the FA in 2016 about issues within the national women’s team.
She received compensation and an investigation eventually found racist remarks were made to her and team-mate Drew Spence.
While the 33-year-old is now in a leadership role at Villa, she made clear while speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday that more had to be done to put BAME people in positions of authority in sport.
‘At this point we have to (have a target),’ she told MPs.
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo is currently the only BAME boss in the Premier League
‘There has to be something intentional about the change. When you rely on self-regulation, (clubs and governing bodies) fall back into a comfort zone.’
Aluko, who believes there is still a ‘glass ceiling’ for black people in coaching and at boardroom level, cited the adoption of the homegrown player rule for how mandatory regulation can make a real change.
‘That was a mandatory rule which instinctively changed recruitment behaviour,’ she added.
‘Whether owners and directors like it or not, this is something the game needs to do.’
Aluko, who is sporting director for Aston Villa Women, thinks the game has to make moves
Meanwhile, Paul Cleal, an adviser to several relevant organisations including the Premier League, also said: ‘All those sports should be trying harder.
‘Targets are useful, and have helped on representation of women on FTSE 100 boards.’
Cleal said: ‘We need to have at least two (ethnic minority board members) to reflect the breadth of diversity.
‘People have waited until almost forced, we have seen the same with the reporting of gender pay gaps.
Adviser Paul Cleal believes that all sports should try harder and that targets are useful
‘The best organisations take a voluntary approach and go out and do the right thing.’
Cleal was asked about the introduction of the Rooney Rule to football. The English Football League adopted a regulation last summer which meant clubs had to interview at least one ethnic minority candidate when running a full recruitment process.
The EFL has been urged to go further by the Professional Footballers’ Association and apply that approach to all managerial and coaching vacancies.
Cleal said the EFL’s approach had had ‘patchy success’ so far.