Kick It Out announced last week its back for the Muslim Athletes Charter from Nujum Sports. The charter outlines steps that clubs and football organisations can take to ensure their environments are inclusive for muslim players and colleagues. Brentford FC was one of the first signatories.
Approximately 250 Muslim players compete in the top four levels of English football. There is also a significantly larger number also playing at semi-professional and grassroots level. The pledge and charter help clubs in creating a framework upon which clubs and organisations can self-assess facilities and practices against the needs of Muslim players and fans.
The charter is based on ten points, including non-consumption of alcohol, particularly during celebrations, and the availability of Halal food both at home and on the road. Additional points include fasting at Ramadan, as well as providing Muslim players with an opportunity to express their views without judgement and withdraw from non-Muslim religious celebrations.
Kevin Yusuf Coleman, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Brentford FC, said: "At Brentford, we want inclusion to be at the heart of all we do and having both Muslim players and significant Muslim communities local to us means we are keen to include those people in our work. Whilst I and others at the club are personally Muslim, we always work to the principle of ‘Nothing For Us, Without Us’ and working with Nujum Sports means we have an independent, community focused, critical friend to help us through this positive change. As a result of signing up to Nujum’s pledge, we are already now putting together an action plan of changes across the club to make sure we are as inclusive of Muslims as we are of all other faiths and communities. Only through collaboration can we bring inclusion."
Kick It Out CEO Tony Burnett said: "Football must be a place for everyone, regardless of their religion. A genuine commitment to inclusion means the onus should no longer be on Muslim players to adapt their practices in order to both keep their faith and play the sport they love. With this charter and pledge from Nujum Sports, clubs can take positive steps towards creating an environment that players and staff can comfortably work, play and live in as Muslim people in football.”