Case Study

A case study implemented by Sporting Equals showed that by increasing football participation in schools and communities would break down barriers from different cultures. This was shown by Rachel Yankey who is a Ghanaian who represented England and played for Arsenal in football, when not playing or practicing she spent time working in schools coaching and teaching football. This enabled her to see the breakdown of cultural barriers and the bringing together of people who would not usually relate. Rachel states ‘I believe that sport helps communities build bridge and develop integration’ (Sporting Equals, 2011). The case study showed that male football coaches from the BME communities had chances to develop there coaching skills, however females didn’t feel comfortable in the male orientated environment, especially those who are from different cultural and faith backgrounds. Overall she believed that there needs to be a course for only female participants to increase the females coaching infrastructure. She also believed that people from the community need to get involved to produce BME role models for the young people, to show the benefits of coaching, especially to promote a coaching career.



Sporting Equals (2011). This Girl Can Coach. Sporting Equals Promoting ethnic diversity in sport and physical activity. Retrieved from on 26th March 2017.


Sporting Equals

Sporting Equals has had a lot of success in BME communities, they work in three key areas trying to increase sport participation, active communities and equality and diversity in sport. They currently support different sports governing bodies such as Sport England, the football association and many more, this helps the sports providers to engage BME communities and encourage more people to get involved in the activities. I believe that Sporting Equals is a great organisation as it allows BME communities and other communities to come together and sort out differences by using sport. It allows the community to increase their inclusiveness which can actually make life in general healthier. By involving younger generations in sport, this can increase their chance of becoming role models for the next generation, this would create a trend that BME communities should be involved in sport. However, I believe they could expand the project into more areas across England so that all BME communities are allowed access to sport and should run bigger events in the summer to promote inclusiveness during the summer holidays for the young people. This can help change attitudes of young people towards other races, which in the future they become the leaders of Great Britain they would have a better attitude towards conflicts between races as they would have been brought up to see everyone as equal.

Social Cohesion and Community Cohesion

Cohesion is vitally important in every aspect of life, without cohesion different groups are working against one another which causes tension, violence and discrimination (Cantle, 2007). Sports clubs are used to increase communities’ social cohesion, this is an important concept due to society becoming more diverse. It allows the bringing together of people who share the same interests, values and understandings. Taylor et al (2003) states that community sport ‘can make increasingly vital contributions to the health of the nation, community regeneration and cohesion’. To achieve togetherness between diverse groups of people they need to have face to face contact in social contexts, this allows the group of people to cooperate with one another and this would increase cohesion (Burggraeve, 2008). Sporting equals brought together young people from different backgrounds that never had to communicate with one another, they wanted to show that sport was a way to overcome the low levels of cohesion between the two different groups of young people. The reason for this was to overall increase the community cohesion which is defined as ‘working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging’ (DCSF/CLG, 2007). The main sports included were wheelchair basketball, dodgeball, table-tennis and football. They wanted to create the right environment to bring the young people into a safe environment to bring the community together and talk about what they believe is wrong in society. The overall aim was to leave a legacy of increased community cohesion and a wider sporting profile with the younger people engaged from Asian and White communities, this allowed them to get a greater understanding of different cultures (Sporting Equals, 2015).



Burggraeve, R. (2008). The awakening to the other: A provocative dialogue with Emmanuel Levinas. Leuven: Peeters.

Cantle, T. (2007). ‘Race and Community Cohesion’. Sociology Review. 3(16), 1-4.

DCSF/CLG (2007) Guidance on the Duty to Promote Community Cohesion.  London: Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Sporting Equals. (2015). Increasing Participation. Retrieved from on 24th February.

Taylor, P., Nichols, G., Holmes, K., James, M., Gratton, C., Garrett, R., Kokolakakis, T., Mulder, C., & King, L. (2003). Sports volunteering in England. London: Sport England.






Barriers towards participation

The socio-ecological model shows that there are multiple, interconnected barriers which affect the participation levels of BME’s in sport, the model is broken down into three sections personal, social and environmental barriers towards participation in sport (Cleland et al, 2008). The personal centre of the model includes personal factors that increase or decrease the likelihood of an individual being physically active such as having lack of motivation or beliefs which affect your participation levels (Koshoedo, Simkhada & Teijlingen, 2009). Research has shown that people in the BME communities did not associate physical activity with members of their own community but rather described physical activity as a ‘white, middle-class, male domain’ (Roper, 2007). The model also presents the barriers which are present for the BME communities socially, research showed that one of the main barriers was religious beliefs being violated by the dress code, segregation and prayer times these all affected participation time. Research has also shown that there is not the opportunities for BME communities to get involved as many religions especially Muslims can only play gender allocated sports which have to have dress codes which completely cover their body, this can also be affected by having a lack of culturally appropriate facilities (Benn & Jawad, 2011). A lack of role models in the BME community is also a factor which contributes to the low levels of physical activity levels, the lack of media coverage is significant as it plays a ‘central role in informing knowledge, opinions and attitudes of sport’(Sports Scotland, 2008).  Sporting equals created a tennis activator which allowed the delivery of tennis to grassroots, this allowed them to work with families to provide a place in which BMEs felt safe and happy to get involved in sport. Furthermore, research suggests that families play an important role in influencing participation in sport, there are many barriers such as parental approval, as many parents from the BME community didn’t have the chance to partake in sport in their younger years, meaning they never understood the benefits of physical activity. The reason for their isolation of sport was due to their lack of employment and language barriers (Kay, 2005). The environmental barriers which occur are the lack of knowledge and opportunities for the BME community to participate in sport, this is suggested in Fredricks and Eccles (2004) work where there is not enough advertising of the different activities that are being held in that area.




Benn, T., & Jawad, H. (2011), Muslim Women and Sport, London, Routledge.

Cleland, V., Dwyer, T., Blizzard, L. & Venn A. (2008). The provision of compulsory school physical activity: Associations with physical activity, fitness and overweight in childhood and twenty years later. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. 5 (14).

Fredricks, J, A., & Eccles, J, S. (2004). Parental Influences on Youth Involvement in Sports. Developmental Sport and Exercise Psychology: A Lifespan Perspective. Virgina: Fitness Information Technology, Inc.

Kay, T. (2005). Daughters of Islam. Family Influences on Muslim Young Women’s Participation in Sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 41(3). 357-373.

Koshoedo, S, A., Simkhada, P., & Teiijlingen, E, R, V. (2009). Review of Barriers to Engaging Black and Minority Ethnic Groups in Physical Activity in the United Kingdom. Global Journal of Health Science.  2, 85-96.

Roper, E, A. (2007). Women Working in the Applied Domain: Examining the Gender Bias in Applied Sport Psychology. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. 1(14), 53-66.

Sports Scotland. (2008). Sports Participation in Scotland. Glasgow: Sportscotland.




Social Capital

Social capital is defined as “the features of social life- networks, norms and trust- that enables participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives” (Putnam, 1995, 664-665). This concept is based on equality, engaged citizenship and inclusion that undermines the positive implications surrounding sport (Vermeulen & Verwell, 2009). Putnam’s (1995) research showed that by having a trusting community, where residents don’t only know one another but are involved in each other’s lives can achieve a strong community and a higher social capital (Schaefer-McDaniel, 2004). Moreover, Coleman (1990) focuses his research on family, community and cohesion where parents use their own social capital to enhance their children’s social capital through education and culture, he defines that “social capital is any kind of social relationship that is a resource to the person”. Sport has an important role in creating social capital as it allows communities to develop trust, openness and respect all the different individuals in the group, this is shown in the Sporting Equals development programme. This can increase social cohesion and unity in the communities. Putnam (2001) explains that there are two mechanisms which allow participation in sport to create social capital. The first is bonding which is created between people who participate in the activity together, which is shown in Sporting Equals as young children from different ethnic backgrounds are brought together to participate in a range of sports. The second is bridging which is used to create an identity and a feeling of belonging for those who are participating creating the overall community to feel a sense of civic pride (Heidary, Amiri, Ehsani & Kenari, 2012).




Coleman, J, S. (1990). “How Worksite Schools and other Schools Reforms can Generate Social Capital: An Interview with James Coleman.” American Federation of Teachers. 35-45.

Heidary, A., Amiri, M., Ehsani, M., & Kenari, B, A. (2012). Social Capital: A Multidimensional Binding Link in the Sport Communities. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences. 2(2), 2222-6990.

Maya-groupme. (2017). Social Capital Image. Retrieved from on the 5th March 2017.

Putnam, R, D. (1995). Tuning in, tuning out: The strange disappearance of social capital in America. Political Science and Politics. 28(4), 664-683.

Putnam, R, D. (2001). “Social capital. Measurement and consequences.” Canadian Journal of Policy Research. 2, 41-51.

Schaefer-McDaniel, N, J. (2004). Conceptualizing Social Capital among Young People: Towards a New Theory. Children, Youth and Environment. 14, 1546-2250.

Vermeulen, J., & Verwell, P. (2009). Participation in sport: bonding and bridging as identity work. Sport participation, social inclusion and social change. 12(9), 1206-1219.

Social Exclusion


Individuals’ lives can be affected by social exclusion, this affects their quality of life also affecting the cohesion and equity of the society (Walker, 2013). “Social exclusion is a process, which causes individuals or groups, who are geographically resident in a society, not to participate in the normal activities of citizens in that society” (Scottish Executive, 2001).  Research has shown that ethnic minority groups have varied reasons for their high levels of inactivity, statistically it was shown that ethnic minorities have lower incomes and higher unemployment rates even though they have the same qualifications as white people (Burchardt, Grand & Piachaud, 2002). Experiences in education can also make a significant contribution to exclusion, it has been shown that exclusion in education is a fundamental factor explaining inequality gaps in society, statistics showed that black minority groups were more likely to be permanently excluded from school compared to any other social group (National Statistics, 2008). Social exclusion for BMEs is present in schools where students experience racist and discriminatory practices which leads to students feeling isolated and victimised which makes higher education less attractive option to continue, this can lead to social exclusion in sporting groups also as they believe they will be excluded from sports outside of school causing them to exclude themselves from society overall (Parekh, 2000). Sporting equals set out a project to promote social inclusion in BME communities, this was used to get an understanding of the reason why social exclusion is present. Furthermore, the EMBRACE project is also used to promote inclusion, West Bromwich Albion (WBA) player James Morrison carries out equality work in local schools to learn more about different cultures and want to engage the young people through education and sports programmes to come involved in football. Mark Jenkins the former chief executive of WBA, stated “we as a club have a rich history of being at the forefront of promoting equality and inclusion” (Sporting Equals, 2015). By promoting social inclusion through sporting means it can create unity between different races and increase participation in sport overall.





Burchardt, T., Grand, J, L., & Piachaud, D. (2002). Understanding social exclusion. Retrieved from on 5th March 2017.

National Statistics. (2008). National Statistics. School Census: Ethnicity Estimates Office for National Statistics. London: Runnymede Trust. 

Parekh, B. (2000). The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain. The Parekh Report. (2nd Ed). London: Profile Books Ltd.

Scottish Executive (2000). The Role of Transport on Social Exclusion in Urban Scotland. Literature Review. Retrieved from  on 5th March 2017.

Sporting Equals. (2015). Increasing Participation. Retrieved from on 24th February.

Walker, F, G. (2013). An Exploration of White and BME Women’s Experiences as Leaders in the Further Education Sector. Further Education Women. Retrieved from on 5th March 2017.