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England has racism problem - FIFA official

Updated: 2014-10-10 07:25
By Agence France-Presse in London (China Daily)

English soccer has an ongoing problem with racism, FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb told a conference in London on Wednesday.

Webb, who is also the head of FIFA's anti-discrimination taskforce, used the example of Chelsea youth coach Eddie Newton to illustrate his point.

Newton worked as an assistant to manager Roberto di Matteo when Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012 but has not been able to secure a senior managerial post since.

"I don't know how it could be hidden. You have 92 clubs, you have two coaches of color," Webb told the Leaders in Sport summit.

"How many board members or executives are in various club positions or at the FA, in UEFA? So, it's not hidden.

"I hosted a dinner a few months ago, last time I was here. I met a young guy coaching at Chelsea, who was assistant coach and won a Champions League final, doing well.

"He can't even get an interview, Eddie Newton. I'm not talking about getting a job - getting an interview.

"That's not hidden. That's right in front of your face," Webb said.

Webb called for English soccer to adopt something similar to American football's Rooney Rule, which obliges clubs to include ethnic minority candidates on shortlists for coaching positions.

"In this day and time, in this era, in this century, should we really be having to mandate opportunities for qualified individuals? Sadly, the answer is yes," said Webb, who is also the president of the Caribbean, North and Central American confederation.

Only two of the managers currently in charge of the 92 clubs in England's top four divisions are black: Huddersfield Town's Chris Powell and Keith Curle of Carlisle United.

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, has claimed there is "hidden racism" in English soccer.

But Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has disagreed, saying last week: "There is no racism in football.

"If you are good, you are good. If you are good, you get the job. If you are good, you prove that you deserve the job.

"Football is not stupid to close the doors to top people. If you are top, you are top."



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