We ask has racism really been given the red card when we see that Paul Ince has been appointed as manager of premier league footbal club, Blackburn Rovers? But the fact that he is the first Black English manager in the Premier League shows that we have a long way to go to kick racism out of football.
Jean Tigana born in Mali but played extensively in France managed Fulham and Ruud Gullit from the Netherlands managed Chelsea and Newcastle are the only other two black managers to have managed in the Premier League. Last week the Premier League gave Rovers dispensation over Ince's failure to hold a Uefa Pro Licence. The former West Ham, Manchester United, Inter Milan, Liverpool and England midfielder will be allowed two years to earn his licence. The licence requires 240 hours of study and usually takes a year to gain.
Black footballers have been playing association football since the 1880s. Did you know that Arthur Wharton, the world’s first black professional footballer was playing way back then for my beloved home team of Preston North End? And yet we still racist chants and abuse thrown at players. Only one Black English manager in the Premier League speaks for itself too.
At UNISON's National Delegate Conference last week, it was therefore great to see that the President's nominated charity 'Show Racism the Red Card' being given such a high profile.
Good luck to Paul on his new management post and on gaining his Uefa pro licence.