How can professional football clubs create welcoming and inclusive stadia for British Asian fans?

  • Burdsey D
  • Randhawa K
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Abstract

In recent years, it has become evident that, like their peers of other ethnicities, British Asian football supporters engage widely in the varied forms of twenty-first century football consumption (Burdsey, 2007). They follow passionately the fortunes of their teams, buying replica shirts, watching games on satellite television and contributing to fan sites, blogs and message boards on the Internet. However, despite evidence pointing towards an increased confidence around the idea of going to matches, they are – analogous to their near absence as professional players, coaches and administrators – still rarely present at the spectacle of the ‘live’ match (see, for example, Fawbert, 2011). This observation is not new, as occasional snippets over the years on television programmes such as Football Focus or Desi DNA will attest. Yet, while various explanations have been posited as to why football stadia remain largely white (male) spaces – some of which we address below – there is little in the way of scholarly work that has looked, pragmatically, at how this might be challenged. To this end, our aim here is twofold: to consider some of the problems with the existing policies in this area; and to try to turn our own academic and experiential insights, observations and criticisms into something more productive, by proposing some ideas that might form the basis of more appropriate and effective policies. Overall, we hope this article can inject some new energy into a debate that has arguably lost focus and momentum in recent years.

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Authors

  • Daniel Burdsey

  • Kuljit Randhawa

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