‘Cultural racism’ excludes British South Asians from football governance roles, says new report | Soccer News

A damning report criticized ‘overt racism’ and ‘stereotypical assumptions’ as limiting the chances of British South Asians in roles within the football industry in England.

Research based on over 36 hours of interviews documenting the lived experiences of British South Asians seeking to progress in football leadership and governance positions revealed a range of issues limiting their chances and fueling a lack of confidence in the game. system itself.

The report, led by a team of three academics from Newman and Leeds Beckett Universities, highlighted issues ranging from ‘openly racist comments’ in lecture halls to a sense that ‘white lawyers’ were needed to stand a chance. land roles, and that assumptions about British South Asian interests were also being used against them.

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Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett said official supporter groups like Fans for Diversity award winners, the Punjabi Rams, demonstrate why the South Asian voice is

Titled ‘Equality’s Everyone’s Job’, it also revealed that some British South Asians felt overwhelmed at ‘becoming role models of diversity’ and being asked to speak on behalf of communities to which they did not belong.

Dr Stefan Lawrence, one of the academics behind the study, said: “At a time when allegations of racism have rocked the world of cricket, it would be reasonable to hope that greater progress has already been achieved in football, but our research shows that this is simply not the case.

“From overtly racist comments and ‘jokes’ in boardrooms to stereotypical assumptions about the professional and sporting interests of British South Asians, our discussions have highlighted how a range of structural and cultural issues persist in limiting opportunities for the two South Asian professionals to forge their way in the sport but also for the game itself to benefit from their expertise.”

A lack of trust in the recruitment process was a major finding from hours of interviews conducted for the report, as well as a “general assumption” towards people outside the industry that they already knew about the recruitment pathways. football, which he found can often use agencies to recruit for positions in governance.

Dr Lawrence said: “Football is a hugely popular sport across all communities, with more British Bangladeshi boys regularly playing football in the UK than their white British counterparts.

“However, although South Asian communities make up 7% of the UK population, only 0.25% become professional footballers in England, and even fewer move into administrative or governance roles.

“Essentially, our research revealed that these communities have no lack of interest in pursuing a career in football, but an enthusiasm for the sport and qualifications can lead people this far.

“A lack of transparency around career paths, hidden recruitment processes and a sense that too often football authorities are more driven by ‘being seen to be doing the right thing’ than a genuine commitment to placing diversity at the heart of the sport, means that this talented community is currently underrepresented in the industry.”

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