England boss Gareth Southgate has called for an end to white privilege, amid calls for more diverse representation among elite football managers.
The United Kingdom, along with several countries across the world, has seen the Black Lives Matter protests in various cities, which were sparked following the death of George Floyd, who was black, while in police custody in the United States.
England forward Raheem Sterling recently called for more black managers in the Premier League and Southgate reiterated the point, adding that he had benefited from white privilege with his first role in 2006.
“I know that I got an opportunity at Middlesbrough when I wasn’t qualified,” Southgate told reporters. “That came because I had worked at the club and the owner knew me.
“But I couldn’t say that opportunity would have been there for somebody else. And I think we are all very conscious of it.
“The power of what is happening at the moment is that people are standing together and these observations, these deeper-seated issues are rightly leading to the broader debate on opportunity, on privilege, and it’s important people speak out.
“I do feel there is a moment for change but I’m also conscious that we’ve been here before.
“People have spoken brilliantly over the last week. A lot of that will be uncomfortable for white people, in particular, but they are critical voices to be heard.
“It’s also important to hear from white voices because ultimately they are going to be in the positions to open up opportunity. We are the ones who have to be educated.”
Southgate highlighted the various stages diverse former England players are at with regards to working in management.
“On a broader scale, we lack that representation. The biggest crime for us in any area if we’re adults looking at kids is if they sit and think that a path in life isn’t possible. And is not accessible.
“I heard Jermain Defoe say a few days ago: ‘Is it worth me taking my [coaching] qualifications?’ We have to avoid the feeling that you can’t achieve something because that stops some people going for it.
“We have to make sure the opportunity is there when people are qualified and capable. And then, of course, they have to grasp that opportunity. If they can do well, they’ll role model what’s possible to the next generation.”