Investigating Online Fan Responses to the Rooney Rule in English Football

Kilvington, Daniel, Cable, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0002-2585-3419, Cowell, Sophie, Mottershead, Glyn and Webster, Chris (2022) Investigating Online Fan Responses to the Rooney Rule in English Football. In: Sport, Social Media, and Digital Technology. Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 67-87.

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Purpose: This work critically investigates online fan responses towards the implementation of the affirmative action policy, the Rooney Rule, within English professional football. It explores systemic and structural racism and the history of the Rooney Rule, before analysing football fans’ Twitter comments concerning the policy within English football across an 18-month period. Design/methodology/approach: This research utilised a bespoke search programme to identify and analyse Tweets which focused on the Rooney Rule in English football. A total of 205 posts were thematically analysed and a series of codes were created. Findings: The findings illustrated that fans were generally divided over the Rooney Rule. Over half of the participants welcomed counter measures against structural racism although many caveated responses by critiquing the Rule’s approach and scope. For others, however, the policy is yet another example of ‘reverse racism’ and ‘political correctness gone mad’. The findings illustrate that there is an undercurrent of hostility towards anti-racist action and a belief that sport is inherently meritocratic and fair. Originality/value: While much research has focused on examining online reactions to ‘trigger events’, this chapter provides an empirical insight into contemporary football fan responses towards anti-racist action in the ‘beautiful game’. It demonstrates that there are a series of common misconceptionsand misunderstandings towards affirmative action policies in sport. Once we become aware of such misunderstandings, we can attempt to remedy them in order to aid the efficacy of anti-racist action.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Football; Racism; Anti-Racism; Rooney Rule; Policy; Social Media
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4699 Journalism
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Creative Practice and Theory
Depositing User: Joe Cable
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2022 10:06
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2023 11:17

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