A few years ago a conference was held by CoEJ at Wembley Stadium, to address the lack of Muslim professional development in football. From this event, the question of why there aren’t more Muslims in football was asked and many volunteers were spurred to get involved.
Peterborough United FC came to visit the local COEJ-member mosque in Peterborough and subsequently the mosque got involved in having representatives on Hunts Football Association (FA) Inclusion boards, diversity boards and being a consultant to developing football counties.
With the help of Kevin Coleman and many local FA’s Stanmore Jafferies FA obtained FA affiliation in November 2016 and has currently 19 FA Level 1 qualified coaches. The club won the “The FA For All” award at the Asian Football Awards 2017 and was finalist short-listed for British Ethnic Diversity Sports Award (BEDSA 2017).
Another COEJ-member mosque – Hyderi Islamic Centre – have established Hyderi Football Club (HFC) and developed a close working relationship with the England FA to become an FA Community Development Centre (CDC) in similarity to Stanmore have, two of only 10 in the UK.
All the coaches are volunteers and are motivated by their sense of helping the next generation. “In 20 years’ time if you see the kids becoming professional footballers, coaches or referees, that’s more than enough for me.”