Chris Powell: ‘There’s a lost generation of BAME coaches’

Former England defender Chris Powell says football “lost a generation of talent” by failing to encourage more black players to become coaches.

The Southend boss is one of only eight BAME managers at English football’s 92 league clubs.

Powell has been linked with a role in the England set-up, although he says there has been no contact.

“Everyone in football has a role to play in trying to make sure we don’t lose good people,” he said.

The Football Association announced in January that it was following the English Football League’s lead by introducing a version of American football’s ‘Rooney Rule’, a requirement to interview at least one black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidate for every coaching position at St George’s Park.

And this week the governing body has revealed an ambition for a BAME coach, assistant manager or manager to work with each of its 28 national sides.

Powell, who took over from Phil Brown at Southend in January, said promoting diversity in coaching should not be left to the authorities.

“If we think it’s something serious, we all have a role to play in trying to implement it at every level,” he said.

“It’s mandatory in the English Football League at academy level so if it works there, why don’t we look to encourage it at senior level, to encourage men and women, of all backgrounds, to coach and manage?

“As a black manager, I understand my role in trying to do my job correctly and to inspire others to make a career out of the game.

“I do feel there has been a lost generation of coaches, which shouldn’t happen again. We lost some quality players, who, at the end of their careers, felt they wouldn’t get an opportunity.

“I think now, in regard to diversity and inclusion, it’s a no-brainer. Everyone in football has a role to play in trying to make sure we don’t lose good people.”

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