Les Ferdinand says entrenched racism curbs opportunities for BME coaches
The Queens Park Rangers director of football, Les Ferdinand, has warned that entrenched racism in football is responsible for the disproportionately small percentage of coaches from black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds.
Interviewed by Trevor Phillips, a former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, for a Channel 4 documentary broadcast on Thursday, Ferdinand says that he believed the John Terry racism case was handled terribly by the game and revealed wider attitudes.
“I think it’s a situation that could have been put to bed quite quickly,” he says on Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True, of the case. “When you look at the game and the disproportion of black coaches in the game, maybe they’re not actually saying what John Terry said but are they thinking it? Because I have to believe that,” said Ferdinand.
Terry was eventually cleared in a court case of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, who is Les Ferdinand’s cousin, but an FA investigation later fined him £220,000 and banned him for four matches for using racist language.
Les Ferdinand, who was present when research was presented in the House of Commons last year that showed just over 3% of all senior positions in the 92 league clubs were held by coaches from a BME background, speaks of his reaction to the Terry incident.
“I suppose it was disbelief really … that the England captain would use language like that on a football field, or anywhere in fact,” he says.
Ferdinand adds that he has only been offered one managerial job in seven years since he finished playing and that was at Bournemouth shortly after retiring. “I know lots of players that I play with who’d love to go into coaching and management and they’ve done all the badges but they just won’t get an opportunity.
“We’ve been talking about this for 15 years now, the only difference is the venues seem to be getting better. When I first started doing it, it was in a little classroom then we moved on to a hotel room, and now we’re at parliament but the outcome’s still the same because we’ve not moved on.”
From the Guardian