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The Scottish FA has appointed a team of Football Equity Officers whose role it is to help increase the number of people from Ethnic Minority communities taking part in coaching, volunteering and playing football.
Working in this role in the Scottish FA’s Central Region is Atta Yaqub.
Atta, who grew up in the Queens Park area of Glasgow, is a well-known actor and model and starred in the award-winning Ken Loach movie Ae Fond Kiss in 2004.
He brings with him a wealth of experience in the equalities sector having worked for Show Racism the Red Card and the One Scotland, Many Cultures anti-racism campaign.
The former Shawlands Academy pupil intends to use his public profile to raise awareness of Scottish FA football programmes on offer to the country’s diverse communities.
“I have a love of football and promoting social integration so this is a dream job,” he said.
"Going from acting and modelling into football is quite a jump but I have been involved in football all my life and see this is a great opportunity to give something back to society.
“When I heard what the Football Equity team were trying to achieve I felt it fitted in well with my vision of equality.
“It is a project which is highly relevant to society and shows that we are actively trying to get people from all backgrounds involved in the game.”
Work has been carried out by the officers aimed at establishing working relationships with Ethnic Minority groups and understanding where the barriers are preventing participation in football.
This has culminated in the Scottish FA’s first Football Equity Strategy which sets out how the Association will increase the number of people from Ethnic Minorities involved in football.
Click to view the strategy here.
Atta said tailor-made initiatives within the Football Equity project would better suit the specific cultural needs of various cultures.
He added: “Since my appointment, I have been meeting with people from diverse cultural groups across central Scotland.
“We have learned how best to tailor our approach to provide more football opportunities.
“There are various reason for ethnic minorities not getting involved in football. One, for example, could be that clubs might train on a Friday afternoon and there is a chance that doesn’t suit a certain religious group.
“When I was younger I was fortunate enough to play for the school and Boys’ Brigade but if training was after school on a Friday I had commitments at the mosque which excluded me.”
“Ultimately what we want to achieve is to integrate Ethnic Minority football participation within mainstream football activity.
“Before this, sometimes we might need to create bespoke football programmes to show that we are involved and interested and then make that link with community clubs out there.
“I think Ethnic Minority involvement in football must come at a very early age.
“We need to encourage parents to be involved in football. The long-term benefits are huge.
“We would have more people playing football, both recreationally and professionally, and more players from Ethnic Minority backgrounds in the national team.”
You can contact Atta on 01786 467165 or email:Atta.Yaqub@scottishfa.co.uk
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