Karimia Institute, in partnership with New Horizon Trust, has launched a football club for BAME boys to boost representation on the pitch.
The idea is to give underrepresented young boys a place to feel welcome and develop their football skills.
The football club launched in July 2022, just in time for the next season.
Bobbers Mill FC will be playing in the league and will be competing against other football clubs in the county.
Atif Hussain, chair of Bobbers Mill FC, shared some words about the importance of having these diverse sports groups.
‘We set up the club to give young people from BAME backgrounds an opportunity to play.
‘Often times these players don’t have the same parental support as their white counterparts, which means they need extra cultural support from coaches that they don’t necessarily get.
‘Other clubs often do not recognise the ability of Asian footballers, instead, they get stereotyped. I know this from my own experiences as a young boy.
‘I’d go to matches and play as a sub for 5 minutes despite my ability being better than a lot of the team. The coach had also hinted to me several times that I should take up cricket instead of football.
‘I’ve got a daughter who’s really interested in football, and so I inquired about a girl’s team. They told me they were full and wouldn’t allow her to practise with them.
‘It’s the beginning of the league and they should be building their team, but they were very adamant about not accepting any more players, even to train.
‘Segregation is still an issue. Within the community, there’s also a lot of prejudice that needs to be broken down.
‘One parent has told me they’re really grateful because their child never got the opportunity to play in other clubs.’
The next step for Bobbers Mill FC and New Horizon Trust is branching out into youth activities for girls.
‘If there’s a demand for a girl’s football club, then that’s something we may develop in the future,’ says Atif.
The football club is a part of New Horizon Trust, a charity youth organisation that aims to empower young people, regardless of their background or circumstances.
Its mission is to provide young people with support, advice, and appropriate life skills to develop themselves in education, volunteering and employment.
The New Horizon Trust runs youth club sessions, residential trips away, mentoring and holiday programmes, to name a few.