Communities from across the country gathered in Glasgow on Saturday to celebrate Scotland’s rich cultural landscape as part of the 2015 Multicultural Football Festival.
Over 150 players and 16 teams took part in the annual event at Lesser Hampden, organised by the Scottish FA and BEMIS Scotland. The Scottish FA’s football Diversity & Inclusion team also helped run the event.
The Festival celebrates and supports Fare network’s ‘Action Weeks’. These special weeks of football unite supporters, clubs, ethnic minorities and communities affected by discrimination across the continent in a concerted effort to make discrimination a thing of the past.
Paul Fitzpatrick, Scottish FA football Diversity & Inclusion co-ordinator, said: “This was a fantastic celebration of the diverse communities across Scotland who are playing and looking to progress in the game.”
“Football has a power to bring people together and it was fantastic to see so many people here today sharing their love of the national sport.”
“We hope that those involved continue to develop themselves and their clubs to progress in any pathway they feel they want to follow. The project can help them do that, so they’re willingness to stay involved is key.”
The projects main aims are to increase accessibility in football from people from an ethnic minority background, and also increase in the knowledge and participation in grassroots football for diverse community groups in Scotland.
Teams from as far afield as Aberdeen were represented at Lesser Hampden, but there was also representation from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Falkirk.
Ugandan team Edinburgh Fusion were crowned overall winners on the day and Fusion player Jonathan Ssentamu hailed the day as a resounding success:
“I remember many years ago when I just came to the country, it so happened that I had to go through the coaching courses and that gave me the opportunity to coach as well as play.”
“I knew one of the SFA team and that has helped me to really appreciate this and to progress and also encourage youngsters to take part.”
Speaking about his team’s victory, Jonathan added: “Well it’s exciting! We got a medal this time and the trophy is amazing, so yeah the experience has been very good.”
Giovanna Arcari, from Westerlands ladies team said: “We came along and last year and played and we think that it’s a great platform for women’s football”
“It’s great to have women from all different backgrounds, levels and abilities to come and play together in this tournament.”
“I found it really fun; we’re also looking for extra football experiences. We always play football in our free time as much as possible so we enjoy getting the team together.”