At their 2016 AGM, English Football League clubs have unanimously approved proposals aimed at tackling the under-representation of coaches and managers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
The new measures, which will take immediate effect, include the introduction of mandatory new recruitment practices for coaching positions in academy football and a Voluntary Recruitment Code in first-team football, which will be piloted by at least ten clubs during 2016-17.
Having given 'in principle' support to the introduction of positive action measures aimed at promoting diversity in coaching positions 12 months ago, clubs have now formally endorsed a set of proposals finalised during the 2015-16 season by a working party of clubs, led by their departing Chairman, Greg Clarke.
In welcoming the support of clubs for the proposals, Clarke said: "It is absolutely essential that EFL clubs continue to reflect the communities in which they are based. This includes ensuring that recruitment practices are open to all and transparent with appointments being made on the basis of merit alone.
“It is clear to us that we currently have an under-representation of BAME managers and coaches at club level and it is therefore the right time to take proportionate action to ensure the best talent, from all backgrounds, is given a fair opportunity to enter and progress through the system.
"I believe this is an important moment for sport in this country and I'm very proud that it is our clubs that are leading the way. They have done the right thing and deserve considerable credit.
"I would like to offer my thanks to all those who have contributed to our work including the NFL, whose Rooney Rule provided the inspiration, as well as EFL clubs, the FA, the Premier League, LMA, PFA, the Sports Peoples' Think Tank and Kick It Out, whose chairman, Lord Ouseley, provided sound advice throughout."
The FA's CEO Martin Glenn added his support to the news, stating: "We welcome this landmark decision by the EFL clubs today and congratulate Greg Clarke for his leadership of this important agenda.
"We’ll continue to work collaboratively with the EFL to support the clubs in their implementation of the recruitment code, which will assist with shifting the culture of recruitment and enable a wider talent pool of people to have the opportunity of an interview.
"The FA’s BAME Coach bursary programme will continue to provide a route to address the under-representation of qualified coaches from diverse backgrounds, including at the elite level."