Harty on the Rooney Rule and FIFA

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IT’S probably not what the bigwigs at the top of football in this country would want to read but, up until last week, I hadn’t given the colour of Chris Hughton’s skin a second thought.

Then I read that he was one of a small number of black managers in domestic football.

On account of this alleged discrimination within our game, the Football League is looking to implement the ‘Rooney Rule’, which was introduced in the NFL in America to tackle the issue of employing more ethnic groups in senior coaching and operational roles.

It may well be necessary across the pond but I actually think, in this country, a lot of people will think it’s bordering on patronising.

Like I said in January, I was more concerned about the Albion not getting relegated when Tony Bloom appointed Hughton.

I was pleased that he’d got a quality candidate and it was only last week that, when I read about the proposed arrival of the Rooney Rule, the penny dropped that he was the first black manager in the club’s history.

Did it change anything?

No.

Will the Rooney Rule change anything in domestic football?

Possibly, but not perhaps in the way the Football League want it.

In this country, we probably have one of the biggest cross sections of cultural diversity in club ownership in the whole of Europe.

Football clubs look to appoint managers and coaches to win matches and put bums on seats. That’s not dependent on the colour of a candidate’s skin.

The implementation of the Rooney Rule almost throws up the scenario of the South African quota system, something which resulted in Kevin Pietersen coming to play cricket in this country (not him again!).

As I said, in my opinion, it’s bordering on patronising and far from helping the cause.

Will it actually create a culture of a whisper campaign when black candidates get any position within a Football League club. Will some people say it’s got more to do with the rule than the candidate’s ability?

We, thankfully, now live in a multi-cultural society. Will this proposed legalisation ultimately do more harm than good?

n Nearly a fortnight on from the FIFA raids and the plot thickens. With Sepp Blatter all but gone, more revelations come out on a daily basis.

With alleged bribes surrounding the France 1998 and South Africa 2010 World Cups, as well as the €5million ‘hush’ money to the FAI after the Henry handball, it almost begs the question at what point will they admit defeat and totally disband FIFA and re-start with a new world football organisation, which is totally transparent and honest?

Despite all the doom and gloom as more comes out, the chances of England getting to host the 2022 World Cup, instead of Qatar, seem more than just a distant possibility.

n You can tell the silly season is upon us. A friend of mine was working at Loftus Road as a contractor earlier in the week and staff up at QPR swore blind that, at that very moment, Bobby Zamora was having a medical at the Lancing training ground.

Clearly, with no press release forthcoming from the club some three days later, it’s another one of those classic summer rumours, right up there with Andrei Kanchelskis.

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