Former QPR and West Ham star Trevor Sinclair says a lack of diversity among top-flight coaching staff is preventing black and Asian players from extending their careers into the dugout.
The 47-year-old says he personally ruled out pursuing a coaching career because he perceived that the lack of diversity within that element of the game would prohibit his chances of success.
And Sinclair, who also played for Manchester City in the top flight and won 12 caps for England before retiring from the professional game in 2008, says it will take more than “token gestures” to change the landscape for future generations of players.
Sinclair told the PA news agency: “Coaching was not even a consideration for me because of the lack of black coaches that I’d worked with throughout my 21-year career.
“I thought I could potentially be a very good coach but I just didn’t see it as an option, I never actually thought it was a career path or a transition that I could make.
“You look at the football authorities and there are a few token gestures but the numbers of black or Asian coaches do not mirror the numbers on the pitch.
“If you are experiencing racism, it is much more encouraging for a young black player if they have got someone on the senior staff who has been through a similar thing.”
The so-called ‘Rooney Rule’, which requires clubs to interview at least one BAME candidate when hiring a manager, was adopted by the Football Association and the Football League last year, but is yet to be employed by the Premier League.
Sinclair is currently working as a presenter on talkSPORT, which has launched a new diversity scheme aimed at recruiting three new apprentices in broadcast journalism.
And Sinclair believes the issues in football are mirrored to an extent within sports journalism, with the need for a more diverse range of views and opinions.
He added: “Naturally whatever industry you’re in, if you’ve got a more diverse work-force you’re going to have better debate and cover more subjects in depth because you are coming from different perspectives.”