The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has unveiled its Football Equity Project aimed at raising the number of people from ethnic minorities participating in the game.
Support from the Scottish government's CashBack for Communities fund has resulted in a team of football equity officers being appointed to the association. Since April last year, they have been carrying out groundbreaking work across Scotland to increase football opportunities for the nation's diverse cultures.
With the expertise of strategic partner BEMIS Scotland – a national umbrella organisation working with all ethnic minority communities – the SFA is now able to roll out its exciting and inclusive participation project for ethnic minority communities throughout the country.
Jim Fleeting, SFA director of football development, said: "I'm delighted we have been able to create this specialised project to increase the number of people from diverse communities involved in football. With the help of BEMIS Scotland – providing experience, guidance and training to our staff – we are confident of overcoming the historic issues that have prevented football's growth in the ethnic minority community.”
Rami Ousta, BEMIS Scotland's chief executive, said: "BEMIS Scotland warmly welcomes the launch of its partnership with the SFA – the Football Equity Project – which has been operational for over a year and which is already having a meaningful impact in driving up awareness of, understanding about, and levels of participation in football by Scotland's diverse ethnic minority communities, including girls and women.
"In particular, we are delighted the SFA sees this project as a long-term undertaking, linked to its wider equality endeavours, and we will continue to be willing partners going forward."
Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill added: "We want as many young people as possible from all communities in Scotland to be involved in football, from the grassroots to the professional game. The SFA equity project uses cash seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act to offer young people from wide and diverse cultural backgrounds opportunities to take part in the sport.
"This will also have the benefit of increasing the talent pool and growing our national game. Scotland is a multicultural society and I welcome the work that the SFA and BEMIS Scotland are doing to ensure the game from grassroots up reflects that, by breaking down the barriers that ethnic minorities have faced in the past to participating in football."
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