Nirvana FC Looking For A Level Playing Field

Popular Leicester football club host feedback session on racism. Written by Poppy Brady

HEARTBROKEN AND feeling cheated were just some of the many emotions that consumed youngsters on the football pitch at Nirvana FC.

This was outlined in detail during a feedback session at the Nirvana Youth Conference organised last month by the popular Leicester Nirvana Football Club.

These were compiled as part of a report put together from the discussions about racism that young people had with members of the Football Association and Kick It Out.

And the youngsters have also presented both organisations with a ‘to do’ list of recommendations to try to stop the ugly behaviour in its tracks, both on and off the pitch.

For example, young people who play grassroots football want to see a clear plan for youth engagement, with the appointment of a young representative or shadow representatives sitting on strategic boards.

A part of the report read: "A research study in the US concluded that racial discrimination could affect a person’s long term health.

“One of the most disturbing messages to come out of the Nirvana consultation is that some young people have stated that continuously witnessing or being a victim of racial abuse has affected their view of the game and made them question their future participation.

“This is not an unfamiliar story as many parents and players have also made similar comments."

The report outlined further that many young people saw racism as part of the fabric of football and as their experiences of racism rose, their self-esteem plummeted.

‘The familiar issue of role models or a lack of them continues to surface," the report said. "Although this may seem to be accepted by young people, there is a real negative outlook to the possibilities of real achievement both on and off the pitch."

Importantly, the document noted that "the development of an inclusion and anti discrimination plan is a welcome initiative, but many clubs and players are still unaware of its existence."

Nirvana club spokesman, Ivan Liburd, said: “Consulting with young people on matters of discrimination in football transcend the boundaries of sport.

“Nirvana will continue to champion the voice of our youth in order to help progress positive change.”