Centre for Cultural Studies and Humanities

Challenging racialised inequalities and exclusion within football coaching

Research challenging cultures of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) exclusion in UK football through a grassroots initiative.

Challenging racialised inequalities and exclusion within football coaching

The Challenge

There are only 15 British South Asian professional footballers in England out of approximately 3,700 players, and only two senior level football coaches out of 522. This is despite football being the number one sport among British South Asian communities. In comparison, while black players constitute approximately 30% of all professional players, there are only six black managers out of the 92 clubs.

Dan Kilvington suggests that increasing diversity in off-field roles, and particularly among coaches, is fundamental if we are to achieve greater diversity and see positive social and cultural change within football.

The Approach

Creating and Developing Coaches (CDC) was formed in response to Kilvington’s work, as coaches were identified as key figures to alleviate said socio-cultural barriers. But, the barriers to coach inclusion had to be empirically understood and thus further research commenced.

Kilvington conducted research with BAME football coaches to identify the barriers to socio-cultural inclusion and uncover what actions could be undertaken. The barriers include:

  • Institutionalised practices of racism which exclude BAME coaches
  • Racialised and cultural stereotypes concerning the perceived inability of BAME coaches
  • A lack of contacts and networks with key stakeholders, such as the Football Association (FA) or professional clubs
  • A lack of role models

I will forever be indebted to Dan Kilvington, Steve Dorey and CDC for helping change my life and allowing me to work in football […] I firmly believe initiatives such as CDC are a huge positive for the BAME community.

CDC participant
Asad Qureshi, West Riding County FA, leading a networking table at Elland Road in 2016
Dr Daniel Kilvington and the participants at The Etihad Stadium in 2018
Asad Qureshi leads a practical session at West Riding County FA in 2017
CDC round table event
CDC team photo
CDC coaches working with children on the football pitch

The Impact

CDC has worked with over 250 current and aspiring BAME football coaches across the country. Several stakeholders have collaborated, including the FA, the UK’s national football governing body, and the Zesh Rehman Foundation (ZRF), who implemented the CDC initiative into their Strategic Plan 2019-22.

CDC’s work has resulted in:

  • Increasing diversity in football
  • Creating networks for marginalised communities
  • Highlighting opportunities
  • Providing support mechanisms
  • Showcasing role models
  • Accessing (discounted) qualifications
  • Signposting funding streams

Related News

Outputs and recognition


Contact DR Dan Kilvington

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  • Sport, health and life sciences
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