Oyston: Rooney Rule would be ridiculous

Paul Ince was one of the few black managers in the Football League while at Blackpool
Paul Ince was one of the few black managers in the Football League while at Blackpool
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Calls for a new rule forcing clubs to interview ethnic minority candidates for managerial jobs has been dismissed by Karl Oyston as an “insult to people in football”.

MP John Mann last week put forward a Parliamentary motion calling for the introduction of a ‘Rooney Rule’ into English football.

The law, named after Dan Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers, compels American football clubs to interview at least one black/ethnic minority candidate for top coaching positions.

But Blackpool chairman Oyston, who has discussed the issue as a member of the Football League’s management committee, described its introduction in football as “ridiculous”.

Oyston told The Gazette: “I have to say it’s an absolute insult to people in football. To think skin colour is a consideration is ridiculous. Appointments in football have to be on merit and on merit alone.

“I think the MP is slightly behind the times, as they sometimes can be. If he’d kept up to speed with what football is already doing on this matter, he would have been in a much better position.”

“I don’t think I’ve come across any institutional racism in football, certainly not at Blackpool.”

There are only two black managers among the 72 member clubs of the Football League, which launched a review of the situation last week.

Oyston has had plenty of experience of managerial searches in recent seasons and appointed the club’s first black manager, Paul Ince, in February last year.

The Pool chairman added: “In my opinion this is an issue which needs to be addressed by the whole of football. The PFA have a massive part to play and I’m surprised they don’t do more already.”

Oyston was quick to reject the notion that managers should be considered for any reason other than ability.

He continued: “I would never put myself in a position of making an appointment at Blackpool based on tokenism. It has to be the best person for the job.

“It would be a very dangerous path for football to go down and it wouldn’t be fair on anyone involved in the process.

“What we need is plenty of BAME (black, Asian, minority ethnic) candidates coming through the coaching courses suitably qualified, which would mean a bigger pool entering the recruitment process.”