Football in England is the biggest sport for participation, viewership and TV rights. This being the case, many people would assume that football outreach programmes would not be required, however, there are sections of society the figures suggest are not making it to the highest level.
In the premiership, for example, there are only two recognised Asian players: Michael Chorpa, who is now retired, and Swansea’s Neil Taylor. After over 20 years of steadily increased participation in football by the Asian community, for the first time cricket is not the sport with the highest participation.
With football being the popular phenomenon it is, it allows for a unique blend of cultures, religions and beliefs to come together. This is incredibly positive as it gets all areas of society interacting and educating each other which is a strategy used by the FA to remove the barriers that individuals face.
Football for Everyone is a programme set up by the FA to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to be involved in football regardless race, ethnicity, belief or disability. This is achieved by recognising that inequalities exist and taking action to address these inequalities may increase participation by individuals who are affected by them.
A more well-known programme is the “kick it out” campaign which for 20 years has made football a less intimidating and more enjoyable place for those under represented communities which the outreach programmes target. Other campaigns implemented by the FA are “Sporting equals”, “Show racism the red card” and “opening doors and joining in”. These campaigns have raised awareness and participation for black ethnic minority, Asian and different sexuality groups of society.
Opening doors and joining in was launched in February 2012 aimed to work on inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people through a whole game action plan. This outreach programme has 6 steps:
- Reporting discrimination
As like many of the other campaigns and programmes created by the FA one of the first challenges is to educate. This happens to both the minority groups who are educated on the signs of discrimination and how best to get involved in football and everyone else to be educated on equality and the best place to report any discrimination.
For more information on inclusive football, below is a list of useful web pages from the FA: