Justification of the research and review of literature
I have been coaching for the past 7 years of my life at the grass root level (level 1). In this time I have worked for different companies and have noticed that this level is highly dominated by coaches from an ethnic background. However, when progressing up the coaching ladder, this number significantly decreases with their being almost no ethnic coaches at the top level of football. Research in the United Kingdom found that minority coaches are underrepresented national and regional sports organizations, have fewer qualifications and are more likely to be unemployed as full-time coaches if compared to their white counterparts (Coaches’ roles, 2009). The ethnic and cultural backgrounds for imports of coaching and managerial positions are culturally narrow than expatriate migrant players. Foreign coaches are mostly drawn from Western Europe countries which are dominantly white in their respective football industry. Research in England found that more than two-thirds of professional clubs did not employ minority talent scouts or coaches in their youth recruitment and development framework (Tandfonline.com, 2019). The study further argued that minority coaches who are employed tend to be focused on community and schools coaching activities in racially diverse areas. The higher competitive level of coaching is dominated by the dominant race despite the high rate involvement of minority ethnic coaches in the lower level football.
In England, institutionalized discrimination has been a hindrance to the minority ethnic groups. Prior research has indicated that national coaching has institutionalized decriminalization against ethnic backgrounds (SAGE Journals, 2019). This can be evidenced in closed recruitment procedures for leadership positions at professional football clubs which rely on the basis of recommendations and from existing knowledge of the applicants in dominant social and cultural networks in football. This hiring process has mostly disadvantaged ethnic backgrounds in the football industry and rewarded individuals within dominant cultural and social networks, preferring individuals with shared cultural backgrounds, values and norms. Minority abuse and racism directed at minority coaches is an impediment of diversity in the football industry. This is manifested in a few numbers of minority coaches in the male football industry. Also, the limited opportunities for the ethnic background coaches significantly contribute to the habit of minority coaches ignoring rather challenging abuse and overt racism. According to the prior research, most of the professional clubs owners offer rationalized coaching abilities assessments premised cultural and physical stereotypes which effectively filters minorities to access professional coaching positions.
There are other limiting factors as cultural barriers to minority coaches. Studies have shown that some coaches socially construct minority players as lacking in social etiquette, difficult and troublesome, and question their mental reliability, attitude and aptitude to progress and succeed in professional football (Agergaard and S?rensen, 2009). This inequality demands that minority players exercise much greater to adapt to the mores of the dominant majority populations at clubs and decamp their cultural identities. In England, upward career mobility trajectory of minorities in professional football is premised in the successful negotiation of non-verbal, verbal and ritualized process, through which attainment of cultural appropriateness and inclusion are withheld or granted within the normative white space that defines football (King 2004). Some studies have identified utilization of stereotypes by key stakeholders in football industry which conceptualize black players in perceived traits of power, athleticism, and speed, while downplaying their organizational, analytical and motivational skills (Jones, 2002). There is a need for football federations to cub cultural profiling in football to increase diversity in football coaching.
Senior operations and senior governance at professional football clubs, at UEFA and national federations, is predominantly held by dominant race staff. The research argued that despite a considerate involvement of minority ethnic background professions in football in some European countries, there has been an insignificant transition from playing into coaching positions in professional clubs (Publications.lboro.ac.uk, 2019). According to the authors, the disparity is most prominent in the Netherlands, England, and France. In the three countries, religious, ethnic and cultural diversity of the general populations and a high number of elite level football players is not reflected in coaching positions. By 2014, in England, there were only three first-team coaches and two assistant head coaches in 92 professional cubs from minority backgrounds (Lboro.ac.uk, 2019). Consequently, in Championnat National league, French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, there was no first team head coach and only five assistant head coaches from minority backgrounds. There is a need for football federations to implement policies that encourage diversity in the football industry.
Negative encounter by prospective football coaches also dissuades minority ethnic group to pursue coaching as a career. Some studies have shown negative experiences and limited access to high-level education coaching courses (Lboro.ac.uk, 2019). The authors further stated the negative effects of unemployment at professional clubs and being out of the eye of the key stakeholders at national federations, the players union, and professional clubs. This limited the opportunities for financial support, mentoring, selection, and identification to access and complete high-level coaching courses. They also found the experience of marginalization and intentional or unintentional racism to some playing professions and coaching backgrounds in some culturally narrow professional coaching backgrounds. Overt racism and hostility to minority ethnic coaches need to be handled through a transparent legal system.
Most minority ethnic coaches do not form strategic networks while playing to ease their transition into high-level football coaching. Studies have shown the tendency of the overreliance of network-based hiring rather than qualifications based methods of recruiting coaches in most of the professional football clubs which disadvantaged ethnic minority coaches (Lboro.ac.uk, 2019). This trend was observed in senior coaching hiring which was premised on patronage enacted by key power brokers, personal recommendations and sponsored mobility, such as pre-existing senior football management teams, senior executive, club owners, and directors. The paper further argued that minorities are marginalized from some distinctly rationalized power dynamics within team settings and coach education environment. This excludes minorities from football work-place environments and results to be less likely than their white counterparts to have developed long term relationships with white colleagues, whose upward mobile career trajectory lead them assuming top coaching positions at clubs influential to appoint coaching support stuff.
Process of marginalizing minority ethnic has been enhanced by tendencies of the sports media to frame discussions around coaching appointments at professional clubs in ethical terms. For example, some sports journalists and commentators in the broadcast and print media focus on the assumed merits and occupational expectations that some high profile white players shall make good coaches (Lboro.ac.uk, 2019). This has prominently disadvantaged coaches from minority ethnic backgrounds to enlist in high-level coaching.
Football is a result-oriented sport, limited diversity and lack of aspirations of suitably qualified minority applicants for professional coaching positions, continuation of coded and overt oppositions to the recruitment of minority coaches amongst owners, players and spectators at Aprofessional clubs. Cultural racism is identified through processes of negative cultural profiling that falsely priorities perceived differences between minority and dominant groups rather than highlighting shared cultural, economic and social similarities, and their experiences (Twine, Werbner and Modood, 2000). There is a limited appointment of minority players as team captains and very few opportunities for them to exhibit their key qualities of command and leadership. This, therefore, limit the opportunities to network with key power brokers at clubs as directors, clubs owners, and administrators.
Some of the football clubs that exhibit diversity in their coaching are underfunded and have limited resources to introduce minority coaches into professional football. A study in the United Kingdom found that the significant financial cost of undertaking nationally accredited football coaching qualifications is a key factor that limits the numbers of minority coaches from poorer communities to undertake a higher level of qualifications (Lboro.ac.uk, 2019). Social economic factors such as the cost of transport, facilities, equipment and membership fees, and unsociable working hours act as structural filters against ethnic minority coaches (Lboro.ac.uk, 2019). Also, the lack of affordable football provisions deprived underprivileged metropolitan areas where minority ethnic groups are dominant. There is also territorial isolation in underdeveloped regions with poor sporting, football and social infrastructure in Europe where ethnic minority reside which limits minority coaches to gain the attention of the hiring system for high-level competitive football.
Familial, religious and cultural constraint, residential and educational segregation, lack of social and cultural practices and wider political narrative on sport has contributed to under-representation of the minority in professional male football. Underrepresentation of minority ethnics in football is strongly linked to fewer professional football clubs owned by the minority (Lboro.ac.uk, 2019). The narrative further coincided with similar patterns of limited distribution of minority football coaches within amateur tiers in Hungary, Poland, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. This, in turn, limits support and opportunities for diversity in the white-dominated football industry.
Aims of this research
The aim is to conduct research in order to find out why the number of coaches from an ethnic background at the grassroots level is so high compared to the number at the top levels of football and different reasons behind this.
Is there a significant difference between ethnic background coaches and white coaches in professional football clubs associated with the level of coaching efficiency?
Is there a significant difference between ethnic background coaches and white coaches in professional football clubs associated with the expected positive outcome of coaching?
Is there a significant difference between ethnic background coaches and white coaches in professional football clubs associated with barriers in high-level coaching?
Is there a significant difference between ethnic background coaches and white coaches in professional football clubs associated with support in coaching high-level football clubs?
Is there a significant difference between ethnic background coaches and white coaches in professional football clubs associated with interest in pursuing high-level coaching professions?
Is there a significant difference between ethnic background coaches and white coaches in professional football clubs associated with intentions to seek high-level coaching position?
Is there significant interest difference in professional football players interest to be high-level football coaches based on the ethnicity of their position coach or coordinator?
Hypothesis statements of the research
The study hypotheses of the research question 1 and 2 is that ethnic coaches are assumed to have lower efficiency at high-level coaching, they are presumed to have more negative outcomes, they encounter more barriers and less support than their white counterparts, have lesser interest to pursue high level coaching professions and they least intent to seek high level coaching positions when compared to white counterparts. The study also presumes that the minority players with minority ethnic coaches are likely to pursue professional football coaching unlike the minority ethnic players with white coaches.
Research methodology and design
A qualitative approach is suitable as it allows me to capture individual perceptions and experiences of the minority ethnic coaches. Qualitative research design is useful to this study as it is complex to be captured by yes or no questions. This design further requires less capital to administer the research that can generate meaningful results. The survey can also capture the varied experiences of minority ethnic coaches in different level of football coaches and specific barriers. The shortcomings of this methodology are that it can be time-consuming as it requires the presence of the researcher to administer it for clarifications. Qualitative data cannot be mathematically analyzed comprehensively as the quantitative results (Iosrjournals.org, 2019)
Methodology and designs
Semi-structured interviewing uses a guide with questions and topics that must be covered which guide the design and implementation of the study. The interviewer has discretion about the order of asking questions, the questions are standardized and the further probe can ensure the covers the relevant materials. Semi-structured interviews are used when the researcher intends to delve deeply into the topic and understand the answers provided (Harrell, 2009).