Non-Black ex-footballers in England had a 50% higher chance of advancing into management compared to their Black counterparts, according to a recent report released on Tuesday.

The Black Footballers Partnership (BFP), a U.K.-based advocacy group, conducted a comprehensive study on coaching diversity, revealing persistent inequalities within the sport. Additionally, the report found that Black managers or assistants faced a 41% higher likelihood of termination, underscoring the ongoing challenges faced by Black individuals in football management roles.

“Football should be a game for everyone on and off the pitch. If you are good enough on the pitch your dreams and hopes can and should be realized” wrote a group of Black former players including Sol Campbell and Les Ferdinand in the report’s foreword. “The significant drop off in off-field opportunities lets down Black players and an industry that relies on their talent.”

The group, which also includes Chris Ramsey, Paul Davis and Ricky Hill, described the lack of opportunities for Black coaches as a “systemic issue.”

Burnley’s Vincent Kompany began the season as the Premier League’s only Black manager. Then Nuno Espirito Santo, who was born on the African island of São Tomé, was hired by Nottingham Forest in December.

In its 2022 report, the BFP found 43% of Premier League players were Black, but only 4.4% of managerial positions for former players were taken up by Black applicants.

In the latest report, academics Sam Hoey from the University of Liverpool, Thomas Peeters from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, and Stefan Szymanski from the University of Michigan studied a sample of about 3,500 players from England’s top two divisions from 1990 to 2010 and who stopped playing in 2013 or earlier.

The report said Black managerial staff were also less likely to be promoted.

“In sum, Black former players get fewer chances at management, get promoted more slowly (if at all), their progress stalls sooner, and they get fired quicker than their non-Black counterparts — and none of that is related to their performance” the BFP said.

“A career in football management often looks like a game of snakes and ladders; but for Black former players it’s pretty much all snakes and no ladders, and we have the data to prove it” BFL executive director Delroy Corinaldi said.

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