Welcome to the Scottish FA Equalities Newsletter, a quarterly source of equity news, views and events from all regions within Scotland.

With the start of the new year well in truly on its way, it has been a quick but successful start to the year for the equalities team. Targets set around increasing participation, coaches and opportunities ever increasing for ethnic minority and diverse communities have been exceeded with the communities growing all the time.

With more funding having been guaranteed for another 3 years form the CashBack for communities’ fund, the equity project has the opportunity to now push on and further develop the good work that has started in all the regions throughout Scotland.

Annual Multicultural Football Festival at Toryglen
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.

Feedback both on the day and after was fantastic. Many people commented positively expressing that they ‘could not believe just how many people from different BME backgrounds participated on the day’. 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".


• Provided direct focused support to BEMIS for the development and delivery of the event.
•    Event attended by wide variety of males and females from over 15 ethnic communities
• Increased interaction among diverse EM communities
• Increased confidence and capacity of EM communities in engaging in multicultural football events.
• Empowering local grassroots EM community groups and promotion of their current local involvement and participation in football.
• Enhanced trusting relationship between the SFA and the diverse EM communities.

Abdelrahman + Ibrahim  (Arabs & friends)

“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 (MYF Boys Team)

“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.”

New football equity officer appointed for Aberdeen region

The new football equity officer for the Aberdeen is gearing up for putting miles on the clock in his new role. The role which is a partnership between Aberdeen FC Community Trust and the Scottish FA, signifies exciting times in the City and the surrounding Aberdeen shire area. Harley will be responsible for the development and implementation of the “Football Equity Project” in the North which will provide a specific and focused resource to ethnic and religious minority groups.

The role focuses on increasing accessibility in Football for people from ethnic and religious minority backgrounds, and the increase in the knowledge and participation in grassroots Football for diverse community groups in the North East of Scotland. There will be a big focus on also linking the project in closely with the already existing AFC Community programmes which will offer a fantastic opportunity to create more diverse projects in the area.

Harley Hamdani, who is originally from London but has also lived in Oman and Tunisia previously, has joined the football equity team on a part-time basis but will cover an area which stretches from Stonehaven in the South, Aberdeen and Aberdeen shire, all the way to Peterhead in the North.

He’s the latest addition to a team formed in April of 2012 who have since been carrying out groundbreaking work across Scotland to increase football opportunities for the nation’s diverse cultures.

Latest CashBack funding announced

Communities across Scotland are set to benefit from an investment of over £24 million through the latest round of funding from the Scottish Government’s innovative Cashback for Communities programme.

The announcement will take the total amount of criminal money seized and put back into communities across Scotland to over £74 million since 2008.

The Justice Secretary announced details of the latest three year phase today during his visit to the Cashback-funded School of Rugby at Wallace High, the Scottish School of Sport, Stirling.

Read full story here.

South East support for Ethnic Minority project

A project in Edinburgh aimed at helping children from Ethnic Minorities play football, supported by the Scottish FA’s Football Equity team, and recently celebrated its first anniversary.
Leith-based charity Multi-Cultural Family Base’s (MCFB) football initiative ‘Scoring a Goal for Inclusion’ focusses on establishing links with grassroots clubs to make it easier for young people from Ethnic Minorities to get involved in football.

Read full story here.

Bespoke Female City Centre Participation Centre

By creating a female-only space where women are empowered and encouraged to take part in football, we recently ran a pilot to determine the need for this project in Glasgow’s south side. With an initial attendance of between 10-20 women attending each session within the pilot; the majority of whom said they took part in no other sport or physical activities. We have found that ethnic minority women in particular can lead quite isolated lives and are unlikely to access sport facilities. Our project aimed to attract these women to engage in women's football activities. Based on the uptake of our pilot project more women were engaged, particularly from ethnic minority communities, to participate in sport. During the pilot we made sure that our sessions were accessible to women of all faiths and cultural backgrounds; including by providing segregated training facilities and female only coaches.

Through these sessions, some participants have become qualified coaches, encouraging them to volunteer to support the work of the women's participation centre.

The participation centre and resultant inclusive community sport for women, continues to promote women's health and well-being; including a positive impact on mental health and well-being. The project also addresses social isolation, disproportionately experienced by women, particularly ethnic minority women, integration, equality of opportunity & participation, and create opportunities to advance active citizenship in the diverse local area.

Spartans Community Football Academy

The Spartans Community Football Academy aims to help strengthen community cohesion and provide new opportunities for more people to participate in sport. With this in mind the academy have supported MCFB’s football initiative ‘Scoring a Goal for Inclusion’ over the last year. The young people attending the initiative have each had the opportunity to attend a block of sessions at the academy with the aim of becoming an inclusive club through increasing awareness of academy programmes and building the confidence of those taking part.

Due to the success of this partnership and an increased awareness of the club in engaging ethnically diverse communities the academy developed a programme that aims to support the integration of EM young people within the local community. The programme started in April 2014 and runs weekly sessions where those attending have the opportunity to play football and take part in further activities within the café area.

The academy also built on their relationship with Blackhall Mosque through offering a free trial of their Easter Programme to members of the mosque. This resulted in 12 young people attending the free trial and although none took part in further days, parents expressed their interest in attending future holiday programmes.


•    4 young people now attending Spartans Academy regularly out-with weekly session
•    18 young people attending the new Thursday Spartans Club from 4 different ethnicities
•    1 new volunteer supporting the new Thursday club
•    8 young people attending weekly sessions in partnership with MCFB
•    12 young people from Blackhall Mosque attended Easter Holiday session
•    Increased awareness amongst parents with regards to opportunities within the academy
•    3 girls from ‘Scoring a Goal for Inclusion’ have now joined Spartans Girls U13s, U11s and U9

Football Equity Project making impact in Falkirk

The Scottish FA’s Football Equity Project is helping to increase football participation among Ethnic Minorities in Falkirk.

Atta Yaqub, football equity officer for the Scottish FA’s Central region, has established a participation centre at Falkirk Stadium on a Sunday night where players from the Ethnic Minority community can enjoy football coaching and take part in organised games.

Read full story here.