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Scottish Multicultural Football festival: Celebrating Cultural Heritage & Active citizenship through football

Posted on: Thursday 11th December 2014

Scottish Multicultural Football festival: Celebrating Cultural Heritage & Active citizenship through football
In line with the strategy of the Scottish FA and its commitment to equality and equal opportunities, the Equity Project worked in conjunction with their partners BEMIS to plan and deliver a national event aiming at promoting equal participation in football among the diverse communities enabling further community cohesion and participation. The event was planned to empower and enable diverse BME community groups to be part of a multicultural football celebration culminating in a show piece festival.


• The promotion of cultural heritage and equality
• Promoting active citizenship and participation of diverse community groups in football activities
• Promoting and enabling ethnic minorities to become more vibrant and active in civic life
• Changing attitudes of both BME and wider society towards participation in football

The event:

A Multicultural Football Festival hosting and bringing together a wide range of ethnicities and backgrounds through football. The event was organised to promote football to a range of EM groups. Through the Scottish FA’s Equity strategy and in conjunction with their partners BEMIS, it is hoped that the event, the first of its kind in Scotland, will help to break down the barriers people from a BME background face when trying to participate and football.

The event was held at Toryglen Football Centre, Glasgow, in the shadow of the National Stadium, Hampden Park.
On the day over 140 participants were involved with more than 15 ethnicities taking part in different teams, ranging from Scottish, Iranian, Arab, Roma, Ugandan, Congolese, Persian, Afghani, Pakistani, Polish, Italian, Pakistani and Egyptian to name but a few. Of the teams taking part there were 12 male teams with 10 players in each team. There was also a girl’s football tournament organised in which 4 teams from a EM & Scottish backgrounds took part in, some of whom were experiencing playing in that environment for the very first time.

Recently the Scottish FA’s Equity team has made great strides in breaking down barriers. Included in the remit of our Cashback funded ‘Girl’s and Womens’ Club Development Officers is the development of female participation in the game. The Officers work closely with the Football Equity team and through this collaboration there is already a women’s group taking part in weekly coaching sessions in Glasgow. It was this group of players that took part in the activity too.

The event was the first of its kind in Scotland, and it is an aim that in the future the Scottish FA’s Equity team and BEMIS will create more of these festivals that will in turn increase participation and opportunities in football for people from EM communities.

Paul Fitzpatrick, Scottish FA Football Equity Coordinator commented:  "It was great to see so many people from EM communities participating and most of all enjoying the day for what it was. The chance for people to come together, despite their race, religious beliefs or background and take part in a football event is what we aimed for and we will continue to use football as a tool to break down any of the barriers that people may find exist for them to do this on a regular basis"

A football tackle between two men
Feedback from participants:

Abdelrahman and Ibrahim said: 

“The event was perfectly organised, our team(s) had a mix of different cultures and more or less the whole tournament too. 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 guys that just came to Scotland, they really found it as 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 1st time experience, especially that we had 1 team reaching the semi-finals. We know we made some mistakes which we noted and definitely try to avoid it next time. So it was an excellent experience adding to our fresh coaching skills, it also gave is a massive motivation to start the 11s team as soon as possible.”

“Now we really want to go a step forward, so the plans is to start the 11s team which both of us will take charge of (coaching wise). So we are to start training on a regular basis, also get friendlies going on which will be a perfect preparation to our intention to join a League the next season.”

“To add to our plans, we want to continue the coaching course as to do Level 2 next, and so on leading to even doing the license course. That will open our opportunity to start a youth club with a professional license.”

“Again we really enjoyed the event, well planned and organised.”

Asif Hussain said:

“The event was fantastic and went very smoothly on the day as well. 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 in Glasgow. 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 on setting up and running a similar event in the future but most importantly created some new links to work together with going forward. Also 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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