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Sol Campbell attacks lack of black staff in England set-up

A group of former pros have taken it upon themselves to address the lack of ethnic minority faces in senior positions in English football clubs.

They are led by high profile figures, Jason Roberts and Les Ferdinand, who have taken the 'On Board' qualification which they hope will open a few boardroom doors.

Roberts says the ethnic mix on the pitch, where more than a quarter of all players are now from a blackor ethnic minority background, is not reflected in current boardrooms which areby and large, he says, ''male, pale and stale''.

Former player Jason Roberts has been outspoken about racism in the game.

Norwich's Chris Hughton is the only black manager among the entire list of 92 league clubs in England. And there is also only one non-white board member among Premier League clubs who does not come from the same country as the club's owner.

The Football Association and the players union - the PFA - have both endorsed the 'On Board' initiative.

However, one former-England captain told ITV News today that those who run the game in England could and should do much more.

Sol Campbell, who led England three times during his 73-cap international career, says the FA should employ a more diverse group of staff around the men's senior squad.

Campbell says he could have captained England had race not been considered. Credit: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport

The former defender says that, over the past 20 years, not a single visible member of the coaching, conditioning and medical staff or othe high profile members of the backroom team has come from a black or ethnic minority background.

"There's not been one black coach, one black physio ... masseur ... no-one," Campbell says.

He argues this is a missed opportunity - an easy way for the FA to make a high profile statement and prove their commitment to diversity.

While the FA would not be drawn on the issue, it is fair to point out that at least two of their support staff going to the World Cup in Brazil this summer come from ethnic minority backgrounds.

In its renewed commitment to diversity, the FA set up an Inclusion Advisory Board at the end of last year - headed by full board member Heather Rabbatts.

The same Heather Rabbats, however, has criticised the make up of FA Chairman Greg Dyke's pet project - his commission set up to improve the achievements of the national team.

Rio Ferdinand's appointment to Greg Dyke's commission was criticised by some as an 'afterthought'. Credit: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

Campbell has an awkward history with the FA - he revealed recently in his authorised biography that he was convinced he'd have captained his country many more times had he been white.

But he is adamant - while applauding the work of Jason Robert's group - that the best and quickest way to change English Football's culture and improve its record on diversity is from within the FA, not from outside it.