Wed, Dec

Black professionals sidelined in pro-sports.

FORMER T&T football captain Dwight Yorke has called on global football federations to allow certified black professionals equal opportunity towards securing managerial roles in the sport’s top-flight.

In a passionate interview with talkSPORT on Tuesday, the 48-year-old veteran admitted racism in sport carries a long history but is still prevalent in today’s era of the beautiful game, especially towards the black community.

Yorke questioned why the majority of the world’s highest-ranked leagues did not feature more black coaches and managerial staff. He believes blacks are being stereotyped and unjustly treated while “other high-profile figures get fast-tracked into management”.

Although Yorke has completed all his coaching badges, he is yet to be given an interview for any roles he has applied for. The ex-Manchester United talisman went as far as saying that not even his decorated recommendation by legendary ‘Red Devils’ coach Sir Alex Ferguson on his credentials presents him with equal opportunity to attain a managerial role.

“I’ve applied for two jobs recently and I didn’t even get a response back after putting my CV in. Having someone like Sir Alex Ferguson on the end of the phone ready to give me a recommendation is great, but I couldn’t even get a response back, let alone an interview. We’re looking in the Premier League – are there any black managers there at this present time? No. Can we go to Spain? No. Italy? No. Bundesliga? No.” said Yorke.

The Tobagonian-bred former striker has played for world-renowned English clubs such as Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Sydney and Sunderland between 1988 and 2009. He scored 123 goals in the English Premier League and was also integral in qualifying T&T to the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Yorke stated during his 20 years of professional play he could only remember coming across one black person in the backroom staff, a masseuse. The veteran player dubbed the system designed to hire managers among the top leagues is unfair towards blacks and has been that way for decades.

“The system is not being fair towards black players or black people who are trying to become a manager. I’ve lived the life of understanding of being a professional footballer, you work so hard and that is in your control. But when the control is in the reverse situation, you understand why you can’t get jobs in football. It’s an injustice. When a black person has gone for any type of job they’re not seen as adequate or qualified enough, even though they have the qualifications,” he added.

When asked by talkSPORT host Laura Woods whether he sees the situation changing in football, Yorke was highly doubtful. He also distanced himself from the “playboy” stereotype given to him by the media.

Yorke admitted “enjoying himself” while in the prime of his career but affirmed he never missed training, been an alcoholic, was pictured fighting in clubs or broken curfews as a professional.

“It’s just a whole type of stereotype…No, I’m not confident of things changing. It’s just talk and gesture, this has been happening for years. I know that this happens outside of my industry as well,” he continued.

In conclusion, the TT footballing legend referred to many instances of abuse portrayed on ex-English player Sol Campbell throughout his career and also highlighted the challenges of former West Bromwich Albion coach, Darren Moore, who was sacked from the Championship club in 2019, despite being in the top four.

Yorke finished, “Give us black people an equal opportunity. You can’t even get a telephone call back when you apply for jobs. Someone told me I had to get experience once. How am I going to get experience if no-one is employing you?

“I see myself around the Championship level, but the ultimate aim is to get into the Premier League. I’m even looking as far out as South Africa at the moment because I feel like I need to go out to come back in. But yet people get fast-forwarded to jobs with no experience whatsoever. You’re going to be a bit upset when you see things like this happening.

“If someone like me with my CV as a player can’t even get a response what is out there for a lesser person who is not fortunate to be in my position?”

VIDEODwight Yorke: "All we are asking for is a chance" | Keys & Gray Show - Episode 54