FA's Paul Elliott says lack of black figures in football is 'utterly unacceptable'

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'Not enough' progress has been made - the FA's Inclusion Advisory Board chairman

The Football Association is achieving its diversity targets but the lack of senior black figures in the game is "utterly unacceptable", according to FA administrator Paul Elliott.

In a wide-ranging BBC interview, the FA's Inclusion Advisory Board chairman also said he was hopeful England's men team would employ a black manager.

"Over a third of players in the game are black," he said.

"We've only got six coaches in 91 clubs and one coach in the Premier League."

Speaking to BBC Sport's Katie Shanahan, he added: "That disproportionality is utterly unacceptable."

The former Celtic and Chelsea player, 56, highlighted that the FA was making progress on representation at both board level and among its coaching staff.

Elliott was part of the group that launched a three-year equality, diversity and inclusion plan in 2018, and he said that targets are being met.

"The FA has done extremely well as far as the targets are concerned," he said. "As far as the coaches are concerned, the BAME coaches were over 20% so we've actually exceeded the 2021 target (20%). That's very encouraging.

"In terms of gender, we're over 35% across the whole of the workforce [2021 target is 36%]."

'There will be an England black manager'

This week, England and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling called for more BAME coaches and leaders in football.

When Elliott was asked whether the FA was trying to remedy the situation, he said the organisation was doing its part but suggested there remained "blockages" elsewhere.

"What we're trying to do here is to build the pipeline and the supply chain," he continued.

"Then it's about access to the jobs and that's where the blockages are. So we have to look at those blockages; look at the transparency of the recruitment processes and ensure that the processes are open, robust, transparent and equitable.

"This is what black players want. What they're saying is, 'we want a level playing field, because when we have a level playing field we can then be the best that we can be'.

"This is what they deserve. The reality is the data speaks for itself over the last 15, 20 years with regards to the disproportionate amount of [black] coaches in the game."

Elliott said he was confident England's men's national team would one day have a black manager, without the person's ethnicity or gender being referenced.

"I am the eternal optimist," he said. "There will be an England black manager, but we just want to say 'an England manager' - it just so happens the person's male or female and black. We have to look beyond that."

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