Kick It Out helps launch Shapla Football Club with Asian participation event in Bradford
Kick It Out, in conjunction with West Riding County Football Association and Bradford City FC, held a special launch event for Shapla Football Club at the BEAP Community Centre in Bradford on Thursday 19 February.
The event acts as part of Kick It Out’s ongoing work to encourage Asian participation in grassroots and community football. The day consisted of football and education related activities to promote inclusion in Bradford, and was supported by the ‘Fans for Diversity’ campaign, jointly run by Kick It Out and the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF).
Representatives from Kick It Out, the FSF, West Riding CFA and Bradford City were involved in delivering the event which saw over 100 children take part in three activity sessions. These included a football training session inside the community centre where the children played in highly competitive matches in a friendly environment.
An education session was delivered by Hayley Bennett, Kick It Out’s Education Officer, and Rishi Jain, Kick It Out’s Football League Clubs Development Officer, which focused on understanding equality and inclusion, as well as how the children can to start recognise and celebrate difference. Finally, a tour of Bradford City’s Coral Windows Stadium was took place, giving children a unique insight into the club’s ground.
The launch was concluded with Troy Townsend, Kick It Out’s Education and Development Manager, and Humayun Islam, co-founder of Shapla Football Club, addressing everyone in attendance on the importance of creating a new generation of footballers in Bradford.
Mark Healy, Kick It Out’s Grassroots and Community Officer, praised the local community and their efforts in setting up the new grassroots club. He said: “I am really pleased with the launch of Shapla Football Club. We could not have done this event with the help of the local community who have driven this with help from Kick It Out and the ‘Fans for Diversity’ campaign.
“We have been able to broker partnerships between the local community and the football authorities including West Riding CFA, and as a result we now have energy within the Asian community here in Bradford to achieve something special.”
Humayun hopes the launch of his new club inspire more of the local Asian community to get involved at the grassroots level. He commented: “It’s been an amazing day; I couldn’t have imagined a better event to launch Shapla Football Club. It’s been brilliant to see all the children come along today for the start of something new in the community, and I hope this is the start of more Asian participation in football in Bradford.”
David Dowse, Bradford City’s Facilities Manager, wants Shapla to be a stepping stone for the next generation of Bantams followers. He said: “I know Shapla were expecting about 50 children beforehand but there is over 100 here and that is fantastic. It’s great for Bradford City to tie in with the local community and I’m sure the children have enjoyed getting involved with the club.
“We’ve done quite a lot of work in the past with Kick It Out but we can always do more because these children here today could be our future supporters and hopefully future players.”
Daniel McGeachie, West Riding CFA’s Press and Communications Officer, hopes the club can help encourage others in the local community to get involved in football. He said: “I think the sheer number of people who have turned up to the event proves that this has been a really successful event for Kick It Out, Bradford City and West Riding CFA.”
“To be involved with Shapla Football Club for us as a County Football Association is crucial. We can all sit and talk about the lack of Asian representation in football and how the grassroots game doesn’t represent the communities enough but the only way to get sustainable change is through work with local communities and the likes of Kick It Out.”
Video from Bradford City FC