Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says that race is not an issue when it comes to appointing managers in English football.
Lord Herman Ouseley, chairman of the anti-racism group Kick It Out, said on Thursday that black players' only hope of getting equal opportunities to become coaches at professional clubs was to go on strike.
Lord Ouseley claimed that football's hierarchy "does not have the stomach" to introduce regulations such as the NFL-style Rooney rule -- which requires teams to interview at least one black or minority ethnic candidate for a head coach vacancy -- but Mourinho has insisted that managers are appointed on merit.
"There is no racism in football," Mourinho said. "If you are good, you are good. If you are good, you get the job. If you are good, you prove you deserve the job.
"Football is not stupid to close the doors to top people. If you are top, you are top."
There are currently only two black managers in the 92 league clubs -- Chris Powell at Huddersfield and Carlisle's Keith Curle -- yet the Professional Footballers' Association says 25 percent of players are black.
Kick It Out would not respond specifically to Mourinho's comments but called on the Premier League and FA to state their position on the Rooney Rule.
A statement from Kick It Out said: "Kick It Out was invited to 10 Downing Street by the Prime Minister for an anti-discrimination summit with football's leaders and a number of former players in February 2012. A clear pledge was made at this meeting to tackle the lack of diversity when it comes to positions off-the-field. What steps have we seen taken by those in power to address this under-representation following this?
"The implementation of the Rooney Rule has been talked about at different times since then in relation to management and coaching jobs, and there does not appear to be any serious action or other initiative which may lead to an equitable outcome.
"Gordon Taylor speaks about a 'hidden resistance' within the game and his members are asking questions about where football stands. We hear the Football League has failed to raise the issue at its own AGM but where are the Premier League and The Football Association on this matter?''