Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira, the only black manager in the Premier League, says more needs to be done to encourage black players into management.
A new report shows that 43% of Premier League and 34% of EFL players are black, but only 4.4% of managers.
“We have to give opportunities to people of colour,” Vieira told Alex Howell on the BBC’s Football News Show.
“We are as good as anybody else. And we need to have no more or less opportunity than anybody else.
“When you are looking at the top five leagues in the world and you’re looking at the number of black coaches you have in the first or second division, it is not enough.
“There is a lack of opportunity there. There is a lack of connection from black players to connect ourselves a little bit more with people who are making the decisions.
“But overall I believe that the doors are not open for us to do what we can do and to go into management. When I talk about management I’m talking about the team, but I’m also talking about the higher level as well.
“We need to be given more opportunities to show that we are as good as anybody else.”
Vieira, one of the finest players in the Premier League era, won the World Cup with France in 1998 and the European Championship two years later.
In a glittering career at Arsenal the midfielder won the Premier League three times, including the Double twice, and was part of the ‘Invincibles’ team that went unbeaten in 2003-04. He also won Serie A four times and a Champions League title with Inter Milan.
After his playing career ended he managed New York City and Nice before taking over at Palace in June 2021.
Vieira said it was encouragement from Manchester City managing director Brian Marwood as he finished his playing career that led him into management.
“I spoke a lot with Brian Marwood and he made me understand that having the career I had as a player wasn’t enough,” he said.
“I decided to go through my [coaching] badges and to start with Manchester City Under-21s and to go to New York. I needed to build that credibility as well as the experience to really believe in myself that this is what I wanted to do.
“I had good people around me who gave me the platform to learn and to make mistakes and today to be at Palace with belief and confidence in my ability to be a good manager.”
Last week a report from The Black Footballers Partnership, an organisation formed earlier this year, found that 14% of those with top coaching qualifications – a Uefa pro licence – are black, and only 1.6% of executive, leadership and ownership positions in football are held by black people.
The Football Association’s diversity code was launched in 2020 and aims to tackle racial inequality in the English game. (BBC)