Murray and Batson support first Community Roadshow

Sunday 08 Dec 2013
Former England U21s keeper Matt Murray was at the first FA Community Roadshow
Former England Under-21s goalkeeper Matt Murray was joined by the Birmingham grassroots football community for The FA’s very first Community Roadshow.

Brendan Batson, an FA Advisor, was also present at the event which was part of the game’s Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Action Plan.

Hosted at Birmingham FA, the Community Roadshow saw different areas of the grassroots game feeding back on how they want football to be delivered on a local level from 2014 onwards.

Birmingham hosted the first FA Community Roadshow


The Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Action Plan is English football’s commitment to Government with The FA joined by the Premier League, Football League, League Managers Association, Professional Footballers' Association, Professional Game Match Officials Board and the Referees' Association as supporting partners.

“The Action Plan aims to widen football’s talent pool across the country, while educating people on how to report discrimination and abuse in football,” said The FA’s Equality Manager, Funke Awoderu.

“We know there’s an under representation of some communities in the game so an event like this evening’s Community Roadshow will help shape programmes that will hopefully engage them in football for the future.”

Murray made close to 90 appearances in his time as goalkeeper at Wolverhampton Wanderers and is now on the coaching pathway while carving out a media career.

He said: “Engaging the grassroots game is so important. I grew up playing football locally, played for Staffordshire County, and there probably isn’t one player in the game who didn’t start at local level.

“As a young player growing up I was discriminated against because of my colour and it was devastating.

“Luckily for me I had that drive to continue playing the game but to think that anyone could be lost to football because of discrimination is upsetting so that’s why these Community Roadshow events are so important.”


“It’s a very important initiative that needs support from the local grassroots game.”

Brendan Batson FA Advisor



West Bromwich Albion legend Batson has worked on a variety of Equality topics for The FA and last year he helped launch COACH, which receives financial backing from the Football Authorities. It aims to get more Black and Asian coaches working in the academies of top flight football clubs.

“The Community Roadshows are right across the board. It’s not just about race but covers gender and disability so it’s a very important initiative that needs support from the local grassroots game otherwise it just won’t work.

“We know there’s a lack of Asian players in the game so its events like this that can educate on talent ID and the process of getting kids in academies at a much earlier age.”

Kam Uppal is an Asian coach who is now working within West Bromwich Albion’s academy set up: “People say that there are barriers for Asians around institutional racism in the game, diet and family pressure.

"I wouldn’t argue with any of those, however I would throw it back to the Asian community and say if those barriers are in place what are we doing as a community to breakthrough?”

Steve Poole, the Vice-Chairman at Birmingham FA, added: “County FAs used to be about fines but the times have now changed.

"It’s about development and we want people to engage with us so that they can grow into football and enjoy the game.”

By FA Staff