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The Rooney Rule: Does English Football Need It?

Eddie has researched this controversial topic, so you don't have to

Mr Dan Rooney
Mr Dan Rooney
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

In a diversion from our usual fare - on a topic that is not Bolton Wanderers related, nor does it have anything to do with a certain England Striker - the very topical Rooney Rule is never far from our ears, eyes and faces.

On Thursday, the Football League announced plans to bring in an adaptation of the 'Rooney Rule', something that has been in America as part of the NFL since 2003.

'Following a unanimous recommendation from The Football League Board, League clubs have given their support to recommendations from their Chairman Greg Clarke aimed at increasing employment opportunities for managers and coaches from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background by promoting open and transparent recruitment practices.'

What is the Rooney Rule? Well, The Rooney Rule, named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, is a rule established in 2003 which requires every NFL team to interview at least one minority candidate for the head coaching position once there is a vacancy.

The proposals, which have received the backing of Dan Rooney,  include:

* Five to 10 clubs will pilot a "voluntary recruitment code" to interview a BAME candidate for any first-team managerial or coaching position.

* Clubs must interview at least one BAME candidate for all youth development roles requiring a minimum of a Uefa B coaching licence.

* A 'ready-list' will be created of identified current BAME coaches and players "with the potential and aspiration to coach in professional football" and networking opportunities improved.

Currently there are six managers out the seventy-two who are BAME.

When Lennon was hired last October, Chris Hughton was one of the candidates interviewed. Hughton, now the manager of Brighton,  joins QPR's Chris Ramsey, Huddersfield's Chris Powell, Burton's Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Ricardo Moniz of Notts County and Keith Curle of Carlisle as the minority managers in the FL.

It remains to be seen whether bringing something like the Rooney Rule will work. It would work to increase the number of minority coaches at all levels. As far as the manager or head coach job, club's will look to try and hire the coach with the best credentials, regardless of what background they come from.

There is a case that a club could interview a minority coach but have absolutely no intention of hiring them. Would a coach want to be the 'token' minority coach that gets an interview but never the job?

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who has just led Burton Albion to League 1, has previously said the Rooney Rule was patronising, stating:

"I think you should appoint someone because they are the right person, not because they are black or white. I wouldn’t want to be waiting for an interview thinking they only asked me because I was black. I want to know they asked me because they think I can do the job."

Bolton will almost certainly have a minority manager in the future. Regardless of the Rooney Rule.