Connor handed Wolves challenge as players’ union call for Rooney rule

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Players’ chief Gordon Taylor has hailed the appointment of Terry Connor as Wolves manager and says the Professional Footballers’ Association will step up their campaign for the ‘Rooney rule’ to be introduced to English football.

Connor, appointed until the end of the season, will be the only black manager at a Premier League club.

Taylor said the appointment of the former Leeds and Brighton striker was a step in the right direction and that the PFA would push on with their campaign for the Rooney rule – mirroring the system in American football’s NFL where clubs must have include at least one minority candidate on a shortlist when appointing a manager.

Football League chairman Greg Clarke is broadly supportive and wants to have discussions with clubs about their recruitment process for coaches.

Taylor has had talks with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about introducing the rule, and also raised it at this week’s discrimination summit headed by Prime Minister David Cameron.

He said: “We need to move this on and we hope that there will be an opportunity to have the Rooney rule introduced at Football League level initially.

“We are not saying clubs should give anyone a job but just to give them an opportunity of an interview. We now have a large representation of qualified coaches who are from ethnic minorities and we feel very strongly this is the way forward.

“It is very encouraging that Terry Connor has been given this chance by Wolves – it is exactly the same way that Chris Hughton came to the fore at Newcastle.”

One in three PFA members are black or of mixed parentage, as were 21 per cent of all those members who took the UEFA coaching licences between 2009 and 2011. Taylor added: “As the players’ voice, we are committed to tackling the issue of black players going into coaching and management.”