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Sport inclusion sample essay

Sport has been associated with providing equal opportunities for all participants regardless of gender, race, religion or ethnic background (Hayes and Hidder 2003); thus suggesting that sport is a tool used to produce social inclusion and cohesion between social groups. Uk Sport (2012) imply that equality is about eradicating barriers which are preventing both those involved or wanting to be involved in sport, and that it should aim to encourage total participation within social groups that are seen as being ‘disadvantaged.’ Conventionally sport has been articulated as a pathway for equal opportunities (Bradbury, 2010).

However Sporting Equals and other sporting organisations have reviewed the participation levels upon black and minority ethnic (BME) communities in sport and physical activity (Long, Hylton, Spracklen, Ratna, & Bailey, 2009). The proposed results suggests that there is a racial imbalance and identifies that inequality and discrimination persist towards the provision of equal opportunities for BME communities in sport. Furthermore the Active People Survey indicates at a micro level there are low levels of participation among BME communities in comparison to their white counter parts (Long et al, 2009); identifying that half of the people in BME communities do not participate in any sport or physical activity and that BME communities have a lower sports participation rate than the national average at 46% (Sport England, 2005). Moreover, there is an under representation of BME communities in managerial (3%) and coaching roles (1%) (Sports Coach UK, 2011) suggesting there is a major imbalance in equality. Shaheen (2011) further suggests that there should be further implementations of policies to help support equality within BME communities.

This essay sets out to examine the current position of BME communities within sport; with relation to equality and the current framework, practises and developments in place to aid BME’s inclusive participation within sport in the UK with particular reference to football. In terms of sport it is evident that BME communities are highly under represented with in all areas (Jones, 2002). Hylton (2009) suggests that racism is a primitive factor which could be discouraging BME communities to participate in sport at all levels. Saeed and Kilvington (2011) identify that research shows that one considerable barrier for BME communities in sport is mediated through racial discrimination; thus discouraging the involvement in sport. The scholars identify that racism has been prevalent
in football since 1863 and this has had a discouraging effect on BME football players. It took until 1975 before there was a representative from a BME community in the English football league at any level (Horne, 1996).

Since the identification of racism being a primary factor for discouraging participation there has been a progression. The introduction of initiatives such anti-racism campaigns has been a success in discouraging racism and promoting inclusion for BME communities (Hylton, 2009). In correlation with the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) the Lets Kick Racism out of Football (LKROOF) was established in 1993 before becoming a main body for sport in 1997. The campaign works to discourage discrimination towards BME communities and to help promote social inclusion. The initiative has been successful in discouraging racism which has been identified as a primary factor for social exclusion. Moreover the campaign has been supported by Governing bodies such as the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), the FA Premier League, the Football Foundation and The Football Association (FA), (Kick It Out, 2012).

Furthermore there have been numerous initiatives established such as ‘Football Unites/Racism Divides and Show Racism the Red Card. There is always going to be implications in terms of discouraging racism and promoting BME participation in sport however in relation to the anti-racism campaigns it is important that they continue to receive funding and ‘positive’ publicity. However it is hard for the anti-racism campaigns to promote equality for all when football players themselves are allegedly being racist to each other; a recent example being John Terry and Anton Ferdinand (BBC Sport, 2011). This is a deterrent towards the campaigns therefore it is important that football players themselves promote good practice to combat racism and to promote participation and social inclusion for all ethnic backgrounds. Saeed and Kilvington (2011) supports this idea and suggests that positive role models in football could work towards eliminating racism which would ultimately act as a catalyst to promote equality for BME communities. Another success area is the development of organizations, legislations and policies promoting inclusion for BME communities.

Long, Robinson and Spacklen (2005) identify the establishment of Sporting Equals in 1998 to promote equality in sport. The organization was created as a partnership between the CRE and Sport England. The organization was initially set up to develop policies and practices to help promote racial equality throughout national sports organizations. Bloyce and Smith (2010) recognize the importance of creating sporting policies to help promote equality and social inclusion. Sporting equals (2012) focuses upon disengaged BME communities to promote their involvement. In 2000 the organization introduced the ‘Achieving Racial Equality; A standard for Sport.’ The policy guides sports organizations and governing bodies to ‘plan, develop, evaluate and achieve racial equality’ (ibid). To ensure the policy is abided by Sport England has ensured that all National Governing Bodies must commit to the standard otherwise they will not be granted exchequer funding.

The policy has been such a success that it has been adapted by the Football Association; they recently developed a similar policy sourcing materials from the Sporting Equals framework. The Racial Equality Standard for Professional Football Clubs has been backed by all 72 football teams within the English league to promote racial equality and social cohesion for spectators, players, managers and administration staff. The framework works on a preliminary, intermediate and advanced level with a major focus on increasing participation from ethnic minorities as fans, coaches, academy players and offering employment opportunities in the administration and management area through offering equality opportunities (Kick It Out 2012). A recent example of success in relation to this policy is that Watford FC was awarded the Intermediate level for the Equality Standard; showing that proactive advancements can be made to reduce discrimination and promote equality. As has been mentioned, role models from BME communities must be promoted. Carrol et al (2005) and Kay (2005) demonstrate how important it is to have BME coaches to help encourage the participation of BME communities.

However it is has been identified that there is still a clear under representation of BME communities in managerial and coaching roles (1%) according to Sports Coach UK (2011). Cashmore and Cleland (2011) suggest that the main barrier for the lack of BME communities in decision making roles is based on institutionalised racism. Assumptions and pre existing stereotypes suggest that white counterparts are better in these roles therefore it is hard to change the existing cycle. Cashmore (2011) identifies that after Paul Ince left his managerial role at Nott’s County there was only one BME coach left in all divisions of the Football League.

A recent success in promoting equality for BME coaches has been advanced through the recent donation of 1 million pound by Sports England to sporting equals will help promote the inclusion of BME communities within these roles; and with this the organization have teamed up with the Football Association to promote the FA’s COACH bursary programme (Sporting Equals, 2012). Furthermore the Black and Asian Coaches Association are taking a proactive approach in addressing the under-representation of coaches by running the ‘Developing Coaches of the Future programme’ (Kick it Out2012). Both initiatives aim to address the under representation within BME communities and to help offer opportunities for further development within the coaching and managerial industry. According to Cashmore and Cleland (2012) a potential future development which could increase the representation of BME coaches and managers would be to introduce a system similar to the Rooney Rule which is used within the NFL in America as this would work towards providing equality within the selection of coaches and managers.

It is evident that BME communities are still customarily viewed as a marginalised group within the football continuum. In regards to achieving equality within football for BME communities it could be suggested that tentative steps have been took in order to provide a platform to promote equality and social cohesion. This suggestion can be underpinned in regards to the representation of football players in that Bradbury (2010) identifies there has been a steady increase of BME players playing within professional football in the United Kingdom, according to Cashmore and Cleland (2011) 25% of players are said to be of a BME background. This suggests that there have been inroads took in relation to the participation levels of players, promoting advancement in equality.

However in contrast, Sports Coach UK’s findings highlights that there is still a clear under representation of BME communities within decision making roles in that only (3%) of BME communities are in managerial roles. Cashmore and Cleland (2011) underpin this by recognising that within professional football there is currently only one BME manager throughout all tiers of professional football in the UK. This is therefore suggestive that equality is contested in regards to BME in management. The conclusions that can be made are that there have been clear developments within the football industry to promote equality for BME communities. The implementation of legislative policies has promoted racial equality and therefore provides a framework for development to work towards providing equal opportunities for BME communities in regards to decision making roles.

Coaching initiatives have provided a benchmark to promote social inclusion for BME communities and to help them progress in to the coaching infrastructure in the UK. In regards to answering whether or not equality is being achieved, the answer would be no, alluding that the current developments need to be sustained and developed further to work towards eliminating the circulating barriers which exist, to provide BME communities with the same opportunities as their white counterparts.

Reference List
Bloyce, D., & Smith, A. (2010) SPORT POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT: an introduction. 1st ed. Oxon: Routledge. Bradbury, S. (2010) ‘From racial exclusions to new inclusion: Black and minority ethnic participation in football clubs in the East Midlands of England’. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 46, (1), pp. 23-44. Carrol, R., Ali, N. & Azam, N. (2002) ‘Promoting Physical Activity in South Asian Muslim Women through ‘Exercise on Prescription’. Health Technology Assessment, 6 (8), pp. 1-108.

Cashmore, E., and Cleland, J. (2011) ‘Why are there not more black football managers? ‘Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34, (9), pp. 1594-1607. Hayes, S., &Stidder, G. (2003) Equity and Inclusion in Physical Education and Sport. 1st ed. London: Routledge. Horne, J. (1996) ‘Kicking racism out of soccer in England and Scotland’. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 20, (1), pp. 45-68.

Hylton, K. (2009) “RACE” AND SPORT: Critical Race Theory. 1st ed. London: Routledge. Jones, R.L. (2002) ‘The Black Experience within English Semi-Professional Soccer’. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 26 (47), pp. 47-65. Kay, T. (2006) ‘Daughters of Islam: Family Influences on Muslim Young Women’s Participation in Sport’. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 41 (4), pp. 357. Lambourne, E. & Higginson, G. (2006) Collection of Baseline Data on Coaches in South East England: Draft Report. Manchester, ORC International. Long, J., Hylton, K., Spracklen, K., Ratna, A., & Bailey, S. (2009). Systematic review of the literature on black and minority ethnic communities in sport and physical recreation. [Online] 1st
December, Available at: [Accessed 01/12/2012]

Saeed, A., and Kilvington, D. (2011) ‘British-Asians and racism within contemporary English football’. Soccer & Society, 12, (5), pp. 602-612. Shaheen, B. ‘Sporting equality for BME communities’. Journal of Policy in Tourism, Leisure and Events, 3, (2), pp. 204-208. Sports coach (2012) ‘BME Coaching in Sport’ [Online] 18th January, Available at: [Accessed 18th January 2013] Sports England (2012) ‘Active People Survey’. [Online] 18th January, Available at:[Accessed 18th January 2013] The BBC (2011) ‘Sport: Football’. [Online] 22nd January, Available at: [Accessed 22nd January 2012].

UK Sport (2012) ‘Equality’. [Online] 18th January, Available at: [Accessed 18th January 2013]

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