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The Scottish Football Association’s Equity Project

Posted on: Wednesday 16th October 2013

The Scottish Football Association’s Equity Project

Celebrating Cultural Heritage & Active Citizenship through Football

The Scottish Football Association’s Equity Project organized a national event aimed at promoting equal participation in football among the diverse communities to foster community cohesion and participation. The event was planned to empower and enable diverse Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) community groups to be part of a multicultural football celebration that culminated in a show piece festival.


  • The promotion of cultural heritage and equality 
  • Promoting active citizenship and participation of diverse community groups in football activities
  • Encouraging ethnic minorities to become more active in civic life 
  • Changing attitudes of Black and Minority Ethnic and wider society about participation in football

The Multicultural Football Festival brought together a wide range of ethnicities and backgrounds through football. The Scottish Football Association worked with its partner BEMIS to organize the first event of its kind in Scotland in order to help to break down the barriers people from a BME background face when trying to participate in football.

The event was held at Lesser Hampden Football Facility in Glasgow. Over 160 participants were involved with more than 15 ethnicities ranging from Scottish, Iranian, Arab, Roma, African, Asian, Afghani, Irish, Estonian, Italian, Pakistani and Egyptian to name but a few. Of the teams taking part there were 16 male teams with 10 players on each team. There was also a girls’ football game in which 14 players from BME backgrounds took part, some of whom played for the very first time. In order to engage with the older generation of the BME community a ‘Masters’ game was organised. Even a few of the Scottish Football Association employees who are ex-professionals took part in the 7 aside game against ‘the Rest of the World’ team.

The Scottish Football Association received tremendous feedback from the event, with many people positively expressing that they ‘could not believe just how many people from different BME backgrounds participated on the day.’ Paul Fitzpatrick, Scottish Football Association’s Football Equity Coordinator commented, ‘It was great to see so many people from BME communities participating and enjoying the day. The chance for people to come together, despite their race, religious beliefs or background to take part in a football event is a tool to break down barriers.’

Outcomes of the Multicultural Football Festival:

  • Event attended by wide variety of males and females from over 15 ethnic communities 
  • Increased interaction among diverse BME communities 
  • Increased confidence and capacity of BME communities in engaging in multicultural football events 
  • Empowered local grassroots BME community groups 
  • Enhanced trusting relationship between the Scottish Football Association and the diverse BME communities
Feedback from participants:

Abdelrahman + Ibrahim (Arabs & Friends)

“The event was perfectly organised, our teams had a mix of different cultures. The boys really enjoyed the experience of playing in a highly organised tournament. In our case it gave them a boost to the 11s team we are in process of introducing. We had few participants that just arrived in Scotland, and they found it a good opportunity to interact with others and make new friends. On the way home the boys were asking when the next event would be.”

“As coaches, we really enjoyed our first experience, especially since we had one team reaching the semi-finals. So was an excellent experience for adding to our fresh coaching skills, and it gave us a massive motivation to start the 11s team as soon as possible. We hope to continue the coaching course and complete Level 2 next, with the possibility of doing the license course. That will open our opportunity to start a youth club with a professional license.”

Asif Hussain (MYF Boys Team)

“Event was fantastic. I personally thought it was a fantastic opportunity for Glasgow's various communities to get to know each other and have the possibility to interact -- which could potentially lead to future collaborations among all the different communities here. It was an opportunity to use and practice skills gained from the coach education courses undertaken by some of our team members courtesy of the Equity Project.”

“As we have our own organisation, we have gained some knowledge of setting up and running a similar event in the future, but most importantly we fostered some connections going forward. This event gave some young girls from our organisation the opportunity to take their football further with another local organisation, and more confidence and motivation to continue their weekly coaching sessions.”

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