Oxfordshire FA appoints inclusion football officer

Youcef El Barhdadi joins the county FA as it develops a new four-year strategy for grassroots football with a focus on inclusivity.

Mr El Barhdadi has experience in facilitating football for diverse groups having worked as the therapeutic refugee football group manager at Refugee Resource.

Oxford Mail: Youcef El BarhdadiYoucef El Barhdadi (Image: Oxfordshire FA)

The organisation partners with Asylum Welcome and Oxford United in the Community to create a secure environment for vulnerable migrants to play football alongside others with shared life experiences.

He said: “I’m delighted to be appointed football inclusion officer at the Oxfordshire FA.

“I am dedicated to creating a playing field where everyone, especially refugees and asylum seekers, can find unity, joy, and a sense of belonging through the beautiful game.

“I am focused on the opportunities ahead and look forward to working collaboratively with the community and stakeholders to make Oxfordshire a beacon of football inclusion.”

The inclusion football officer role at the Oxfordshire FA will see Mr El Barhdadi managing a year-long pilot project in collaboration with councils across Oxfordshire.

The project will use football to bring together refugees, resettled adults, children, and families, enhancing their local community experience.

It aims to widen access to football, and aid in connecting refugees to services provided by local authorities.

The Oxfordshire FA said the project will help with their aim of “connecting more closely to our local communities through the power of football”.

Joint funding from The FA and Oxfordshire County Council enabled the establishment of this project.

Michael Thurlow, football development manager at The Oxfordshire FA, said: “We are delighted to welcome Youcef to our team at Oxfordshire FA and very excited by the potential of this exciting project.

“Through our on-going work growing and developing the game to ensure football is a game for all in our county, we have already seen first-hand how powerful the game can be in bringing people together to forge a sense of community, and we hope it can be used to engage with people and families that have more recently settled in Oxfordshire.”

The Oxfordshire FA encourages residents interested in the organisation’s work within the county to visit its website for more detailed information regarding their commitments to inclusivity in grassroots football.

It says it has an “ambition of being the most wholly inclusive county FA in the country, with equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of everything we do, forming an integral part of our DNA”.

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