Student’s documentary highlighting lack of diversity into football’s BAME shortlisted for award

BY TOBY PORTER
toby@slpmedia.co.uk

A student’s documentary about the lack of diversity in football’s boardrooms has been shortlisted for an award.

Samuel Ogunleye, from Clapham, is in the running for a Midlands Media Student Award for his documentary, The Black Board, produced during his final year at Northampton University.

He interviewed QPR FC’s director of football and former England international, Les Ferdinand, for the film.

His documentary also revealed Leicester City FC star Wes Morgan wants to break into the boardroom after he’s hung up his boots.

Samuel also quizzed Burton Albion FC chief, Ben Robinson, who is one of just a handful of black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) chairmen in the English Football League.

Samuel said: “The 92 clubs of the Football League are well known for their multicultural players on the pitch and diverse fanbase.

Samuel Ogunleye outside Stamford Bridge, (main pic) with FA’s director of professional game relations, and former Millwall chief executive Andy Ambler

“But that same level of diversity has struggled to make its way into managerial roles. “But no one is asking the real questions.

What about the people that are hiring them. I wanted to find out why only two boards in the Football Leagues have someone of African and Caribbean descent onto their boards.

“How long will it take before we see that change in diversity impact football here in the UK and we have boardrooms filled with fresh new faces.

“While there are many BAME football players in the professional game and a handful of managers, there appears to be some sort of barrier to them progressing to roles in boardrooms.

“I wanted to find out what the barriers were, and whether people were just not bothering to apply for these roles because they thought it was a closed shop.

“I think the future could be bright if the professional game adopted the Rooney Role, whereby one-in-five people interviewed for a directorship needs to be from a BAME background.

The Football Association has committed to do this when it interviews for future England managers and if clubs also adopted the policy, we might see a change in the status quo.”

His senior lecturer in multimedia journalism Marc Webber said: “While there has quite rightly been increasing scrutiny on the number of BAME players and managers there are in British football, no-one has turned the spotlight on the boardrooms and Sam’s documentary gives a great insight to the problem and the solution.

“He has got input from some very important people at the heart of this story and his tenacity ensured these contributors to a well-told tale.”

The winners of the Midlands Media Student Awards will be announced on Wednesday, April 10.

The 23-year-old also attracted headlines while doing work experience last year when he got to pull out the balls in the draw for the FA Cup.

The University of Northampton student is a member of the FA Young Reporter Club who are reporting on matches in the qualifying stages of this year’s FA Cup.

As an added benefit of the scheme, Samuel was entered into an electronic draw to take part in the official FA Cup draw at Wembley and won, so followed in the footsteps of football legends like Pele.

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