Becomes World’s Second Asian Female Football Agent
Bilkis Mahmood Lawyer based in Leeds, is now hoping that her appointment will encourage more women from the ethnic backgrounds to follow in her footsteps. “I have been given the encouragement by Shehneela Ahmed (Britain’s first Asian female football agent for the English FA), It’s a challenge for me , I want to prove to the Minority Ethnic groups , particularly females that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything”. said Bilkis Mahmood.
It was a year ago when Shehneela Ahmed made global news headlines and re-wrote the soccer history books by becoming the Britain’s first Asian female football agent for the English FA.
“The sports world is no longer just a man’s sport and more females are now involved in the sport industry. Especially with the Football, I grew up watching the game. I have good male friends around me who are already involved in the football industry who also have encouraged me.” said Bilkis Mahmood
The FA is campaigning to bring more Asians into football, but only eight of the 4,000 players in the Football League are of Asian descent.
The FA has recognised and is making strides to tackle the lack of British Asian talent, taking a series of forums around the country to speak to members of the Asian community trying to discover why there are not more Asians involved in the professional game.
The FA recently stated that the key to getting more young Asian footballers involved in the game was to get more Asian coaches involved and thus giving these young lads people to look up to, role models as such, who are seriously lacking in British football at the moment.
Bilkis said: “It comes down to educating and mentoring the key decision makers, the coaches, the scouts and the people who do not have an extensive knowledge of the Asian community. Once these kinds of things start working together we should start to see a rise in participation.”
For Bilkis her entry into the male-dominated world of the Premiership job will kick open the locker room doors for other woman, particularly Asians, to follow suit. She also hopes to inspire parents from minority ethnic backgrounds to encourage their children into professional sport as a career.
We all know the reasons, or think we do: Asian parents want their kids to be doctors; Asian kids are too weak; Asians prefer cricket and hockey; the Asian diet is unsuitable for a professional sportsman. So the clichés run. A generation after the demolishing of myths surrounding black players (“they don’t like cold weather”; “they can’t play in defence”; “they can’t play in goal”, etc) the Asian stereotypes retain currency. Swansea City defender Neil Taylor, whose mother is Indian, is the only player turning out regularly for a top-flight club.