Scottish FA Football Equity Team
The Scottish Football Association is committed to ensuring that football in Scotland is open to all and that barriers, real and perceived, are removed, particularly in relation to under-represented groups.
Although it is integrated into everything we do as an association, thanks to the Scottish Governments Cashback for Communities fund we have been able to develop a bespoke project with dedicated professionals employed by ourselves whose aim is to work within diverse communities and achieve the aims set out in our strategic plan.
The Football Equity team consist of 5 Football Equity Officers, a Football Equity Co-ordinator and a Football Development Manager. They are split across our 6 ‘Scottish FA regions’ , which we hope means that everyone in Scotland will have the same chance to benefit from the project. The team have already made some great strides in achieving some of their aims, but the project still has a long way to go and we are working to ensure the impact of the project is felt beyond the current 3 year funding profile.
Working in conjunction with BEMIS, we hope to achieve our many targets and objectives that are fundamental to its key overall goals. We feel that the three major objectives should encompass all targets for success
- An increase in the knowledge and perception of grassroots football for diverse community groups in Scotland
- Increased participation in football from people from a BME background
- Increased opportunities for people from a BME background within football
These 3 headline objectives have informed our other aims within the associated strategy. Within our work we recognize that when ‘participation’ is mentioned there are 4 main areas that it covers:
It is these roles that will receive the greatest focus and attention in ‘increasing participation’ as they encompass the whole grassroots game. Communication of the work that is being done and the support that can be offered to groups will be vital in the success of the initiative. It is clear that success will only be achieved as a consequence of creating a positive and outcome focused first impression with the community and how that work is followed up with substance.
We will be supporting a variety of established clubs with events and coach education and working hard to create new infrastructures that will provide new avenues for participation. One such event we recently supported was a ‘Scots One Nations Men’s & Women’s Football Tournament’ that took place in Maryhill, Glasgow. It was a 5 a-side tournament for men and women and was organised in conjunction with Scottish Refugee Week and supported by BEMIS and Scottish Refugee Council.
The aim of the day was to promote female participation of football as it was recognised that women from all backgrounds need to overcome a variety of obstacles in their pursuit of playing football. Therefore, one of the key objectives was to sell the benefits that football provides which other sports may not necessarily do such as working as a team, meeting new people, socialising etc. The SFA Equity Team was approached to provide a coordinator to assist with the format of day. They had the task of creating the fixtures, administering the games and ensuring the plans went ahead without issues.
Over 100 people from the Afro Scots community attended the day and interested individuals were identified to undertake coaching education and some flagged interest to find clubs to participate as players – details of individuals were left behind to follow up.
In the future, it is hope that many more clubs and events can be can be created to promote the pathways into the game and how the resources at the Scottish FA can best be used to their gain.
For more information on the project or to contact one of the team, please visit www.scottishfa.co.uk/play