Premier League club Crystal Palace sacks manager Patrick Vieira
Crystal Palace has parted ways with manager Patrick Vieira, the club announced in a statement on Friday.
Vieira, a 1998 World Cup winner with France, was the Premier League’s only Black manager since his appointment in July 2021.
“It is with enormous regret that this difficult decision has been made,” Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish said, also adding that three members of the backroom coaching staff have also left.
“Ultimately, results in recent months have placed us in a precarious league position and we felt a change is necessary to give us the best chance of retaining Premier League status.”
Parish added: “Patrick has given his all to the club, and we all thank him and his team for their service.”
Palace is three points above the relegation zone in 12th position in the Premier League table and has not won any of its 11 league games in 2023. It lost against rivals Brighton 1-0 on Wednesday, the club’s third defeat in a row.
No team has taken fewer points in the Premier League in 2023 than Palace, having taken just five from a possible 33.
Palace travels to face league leaders Arsenal on Sunday and it’s unclear who will take over from Vieira while the club’s “process to appoint a new manager is underway.”
During his time with the London club, Vieira led the team to a 12th-placed finish in the league during his only full season in charge, as well as the semifinals of the FA Cup.
Vieira’s sacking means that there are no longer any Black managers in English top-flight soccer.
In an interview with CNN last year, Vieira expressed frustration over how little change has taken place at the top levels of football in terms of diversity – he was only the 10th Black manager since the Premier League’s inception in 1992.
Last year, the Szymanski Report, commissioned by the Black Footballers Partnership (BFP), found that only 14% of coaches with the highest coaching qualifications in England are Black, despite 43% of players being Black.
The report was even more critical at an executive level saying that only 1.6% of executive, leadership and ownership positions are held by Black people.
“It is not changing,” Vieira told CNN in 2022. “And the question is, do they really want to make those changes? This is the real question. And if they said yes, why do you wait to do it because there are people qualified to take responsibility.
“The door is closed and the door is closed because of the color of the skin or because of your religion, or because you are a woman, that has to change.”