We can confirm a programme has been finalised to ensure BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) coaching placements across all England teams including the men’s seniors and U21s.
Our Inclusion Advisory Board, led by Paul Elliott, received an update at St. George’s Park on Monday from technical director Dan Ashworth and Matt Crocker, head of development team coaching.
This initiative to help to solve the challenge of under-representation of BAME coaches and improve the pipeline of future talent forms part of The FA’s new inclusion plan In Pursuit of Progress. It is a three-year strategy to lead the way across the game in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion.
Measures are being put in place across all age groups to provide either active or observational roles. The overall aim is to ensure the diversity of national coaches and support staff better represents the diversity seen in players across the teams.
Chief among the developments is that Brighton & Hove Albion first-team coach Paul Nevin is set to support Gareth Southgate’s senior staff for the November matches against USA and Croatia at Wembley.
Further opportunities will be identified for future camps into 2019, with the names to be confirmed as and when appropriate in terms of coaches’ availability and club commitments.
This is a chance to work with the best players in the country- Paul Nevin
Nevin said: “When I got the call, I was absolutely delighted and feel it's a very privileged position. Any coach at any level who invites you into the inner sanctum of how they work says something about your own character and hopefully the trust that Gareth has in me to preserve that environment.
“I'm aware of the need to give opportunities to the quality BAME coaches out there and I think The FA are leading the way on that. Sometimes it's easier to give that exposure to coaches at the younger age groups, but to do it at the very highest level in that environment speaks volumes about how serious The FA takes the issues of giving BAME coaches opportunities.”
For the U21s, Aidy Boothroyd is due to be joined by Terry Connor, who most recently worked as assistant manager at Ipswich Town, for this month’s two UEFA EURO qualifiers at home to Andorra and away to Scotland.
And former England defender Sol Campbell has been earmarked to work alongside Boothroyd’s staff in November. Iffy Onuora had been working on a similar basis in recent months including the successful Toulon Tournament last summer.
In the months to come, more opportunities will be identified for BAME coaches to work first-hand in the England age-group environment including across the women’s set-up and, in return, pass on their own expertise and experience. Indeed, an initial pilot is already under way for three BAME mentee placements across the WU18s, WU19s and WU20s.
“I would like to thank Dan, Matt and all of the England coaches for embracing this important initiative," added Elliott. "We have invested a lot of time and effort into getting this right and it has been approached in such a positive, collaborative and progressive way.
“The FA now has a clear commitment to giving talented coaches from under-represented groups the chance to work with England teams. I have long felt that having more visibility around the national team could only serve to inspire others to follow in their footsteps as well as ensuring these coaches can take their work to another level. I think in future we will look back at this as moment as a defining one for coaching in this country.”
And Ashworth added: “While we recognise English football has a long way to go in boosting diversity across our coaching community, this is a step in the right direction.
"There are a lot of talented coaches who just need the opportunity. I am particularly pleased we have been able to put together a programme that will allow them the flexibility to come in and work at St. George’s Park when their schedules permit.
“I must also thank all the clubs concerned for supporting a plan that will be a huge help to ensuring our teams build on their significant progress of recent years. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the PFA for playing a significant role in helping to turn this programme into a reality.”
Our In Pursuit of Progress plan also incorporates a commitment to ensuring at least one BAME candidate will be interviewed for every role as long as such a candidate has applied and meets the selection criteria.
Tickets for England's games at Wembley with USA and Croatia are on sale, as well as the U21s' match with Andorra in Chesterfield.