Yashmin Harun

Blog Post: Yashmin Harun BEM

Welcome to the first blog entry from our South Asian Heritage Month 2023 series!

This week, as part of South Asian Heritage Month, we are highlighting London FA Director and FA Representative, Yashmin Harun BEM.

Yashmin shares where her passion for sport came from and her journey to championing diversity in sports. She was also awarded the Sports Award at the 2023 Asian Women of Achievement Awards in June and visited Downing Street to share her experiences! 

"I was born in Manchester but grew up in Scotland. Having two older brothers who were sporty was definitely a huge influence. Also, my father loved watching sports. Some of my earliest memories is watching my first world cup in 1986 and following the Olympics. Running was my sport and my father would come and support me on sports day, and I loved making him proud. 

Although I had the opportunity to try a variety of sports at school and was captain of most sports, I didn’t think it was a career I could pursue as there was nobody who looked like me. Once I left school, I also left participating in sports.

Yashmin HarunAfter I had my children, I felt I was still missing sports – that team spirit, meeting new people and the thrill of winning was something I was really missing. 

My son played football and it was there it hit me that there was still such a lack of diversity. I began attending networking events and very quickly realised how ‘white and middleclass’ sports was. I wanted to change this and have made it my mission ever since. 

I have faced several barriers along the way – imposter syndrome being one of them, but also having to prove myself in the space. It's been through sheer determination and tenacity I have been able to create a safe space in sports for ethnically diverse women to participate. I am also now Chair of a football club that engages and celebrate the local community – providing football to young girls and women. 

Sports should be for all but there is still a lot of work to be done. Sporting bodies need education around community engagement, and they have to be willing to deliver sports in unconventional venues and formats. They also need to speak to the community more to understand the barriers of engagement. 

The community also needs to contribute to conversations that are happening within sports to help improve policies and strategies. 

I would urge everyone who has a passion for sports and wants to see improvement to get involved by joining committees, volunteering or becoming Board members."

You can find out more about South Asian Heritage Month 2023 HERE