The chairman of Kick It Out has warned that black players may need to go on strike to force the game to confront the shocking lack of ethnic minorities in the dugout and boardroom.
Lord Ouseley issued the alert amid the ongoing travails of aspiring BAME managers and directors, claiming that black footballers lose all their power within the game the moment they retire.
Only three of England’s 92 league clubs have a black manager, a number that has barely changed in more than a decade despite more than a quarter of all professional footballers coming from an ethnic-minority background.
It is a similar story in the boardroom, with Ouseley declaring those in charge at clubs and governing bodies had proven they had no intention of sharing power voluntarily with ethnic minorities.
Speaking at the Football Black List awards ceremony, the head of the game’s anti-discrimination watchdog told Sky Sports News: “If all the Black players decided they ain’t going to play tomorrow, they’re going to have do something about it. There’s no football.
“Okay, I’m not trying to advocate a strike but what I’m saying, people need to recognise how powerful they are.
“After they’ve finished playing football and they’ve qualified as coaches, they can’t get a job, they ain’t got no power. They ain’t got no power. They’ve got power when they’re playing.”
Ouseley said he was speaking to the FA “all the time” about getting more ethnic minorities into the governing body.
He added: “If there isn’t a major breakthrough, I’m off, I’ve had enough, I’m going to hang my boots up so to speak.
“It could change very quickly if the people at the top want it to change, whether it’s in the boardroom, whether it’s running the FA, the Premier League, the Football League.”
One of the solutions often proposed for tackling the dearth of black managers in British football is the ‘Rooney Rule’, the policy introduced to America's National Football League in 2003 that states a minority ethnic candidate must be interviewed for every senior coaching position.
This season, the English Football League introduced a version of this rule – named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney – which means all of its clubs must interview a BAME candidate for an academy coaching position, providing a suitably qualified candidate comes forward.
Ten clubs also signed up to a voluntary code to extend this to first-team positions.