The Premier League, PFA and EFL have launched a new coach placement scheme aimed at increasing the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) players transitioning into full-time coaching roles - in the professional game.
The BAME player-to-coach placement scheme, open to BAME PFA members at any age or stage in their careers, will provide up to six coaches per season, with a 23-month intensive work placement within EFL clubs.
It is jointly funded by the Premier League and the PFA with bursaries provided to each participant via the placement club.
The first intake will run as a pilot scheme, either in the club’s academy or first-team environment, beginning at the start of the 2020/21 season.
Each coach will participate in an individualised learning and development programme.
Participants will work across a variety of football functions within the club to broaden their learning experience.
This could include the coaching of different age groups, physical performance and conditioning, recruitment, analysis and administration.
Participants will also receive mentoring from the PFA’s coaching team, comprising 14 former players-turned-elite-coach-educators, who have extensive experience in developing coaches within a club environment.
Members of the Premier League’s Black Participants’ Advisory Group - which includes experienced coaches Darren Moore and Paul Nevin - have also offered their support to the players and clubs involved in this programme.
Supported by the Football Association, this scheme has been developed over the past 18 months and complements the Premier League’s existing BAME coach development programme, which launched in 2015.
The Premier League Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme provides a bursary for eight BAME and female coaches per intake and sees participants placed in Premier League and category one academies.
Premier League chief executive, Richard Masters, said: "It is vital that there are no barriers to entry to the pipelines for employment in coaching.
"We need more BAME coaches entering the system to create greater opportunities throughout the professional game.
"This new programme has been developed through collaboration and consultation with our colleagues across football.
"We have taken what we have learned from running the Premier League Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme and applied that experience to develop this framework.
"We welcome the support from our Black Participants’ Advisory Group and the PFA coaching team, their experience and knowledge will undoubtedly provide meaningful mentorship to those involved in the programme.
"We hope this scheme will create clear pathways and substantially improve future employment prospects for BAME coaches."
PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, said: "The PFA is proud to support a diverse membership on the pitch, and we are determined to ensure this also translates to substantial BAME representation in all other areas of the game.
"We have designed this collaborative bursary scheme so that talented future coaches amongst our membership can flourish within a structured coaching environment, which includes meaningful pathways for future employment.
"We are also providing candidates with the full support of our coaching team, who have helped many players transition into management over the last 30 years - including current managers Darren Moore, Frank Lampard and Mikel Arteta."
EFL chief executive officer, David Baldwin, said: "It is imperative that the appropriate pathways are in place to provide BAME representatives with the opportunities to make the transition from playing to coaching.
"We know the game needs to do more to ensure the diversity and inclusivity we see on the pitch week in, week out, leads to better representation in coaching and managing if we are to embed significant change for the future.
"I am pleased that this project has been developed collaboratively with our colleagues across football, and hope that we can provide an important opportunity for candidates to develop their expertise and experience at EFL clubs to support the transition into full-time roles in the professional game."
Darren Moore, chair of the Premier League’s Black Participants’ Advisory Group, said: "This is a critical time for black, Asian and minority ethnic coaches.
"We all know and agree that the diversity of coaches and managers must increase and this placement scheme represents a positive step.
"There are lots of roles in the academy system all the way through to first team and young coaches can slot in at different points to begin that journey.
"We need to have the right structures and people in place to develop their careers.
"I know from my own experiences the value of strong support throughout the coaching journey, which is why I, alongside other senior coaches and former players, will be drawing on our collective expertise to provide guidance to those making the transition into coaching and working in the professional environment."