Breaking Barriers with Ahmar Mukhtar

Breaking Barriers | Ahmar Mukhtar

Steph Clark
Promoting and celebrating the successes of individuals from diverse ethnic communities and underrepresented groups within our game.

To live by a motto you cannot say, might sound strange at first.

Yet, that’s exactly what Ahmar Mukhtar does. 

The word ‘impossible’ is not in his vocabulary.

For Ahmar, it is a state of mind he does not entertain. A word he will not say, an outcome he simply will not accept.

Those closest to him know this to be true and it is clear to see the respect and admiration he inspires from those around him, especially when it comes to his footballing community.

Ahmar founded Elmhurst FC (formerly Aylesbury Asians) 35 years ago and has dedicated most of his life to increasing opportunities for young people from Asian communities to play football and achieve success, working to break down barriers he himself faced as a youngster.

Ahmar has cerebral palsy. Growing up, Ahmar felt there was not as much support for disabled people like himself to get into football as there is now, but, with the help of others, he pushed himself to start his journey and make himself known in the local football community.

Reflecting on his own experience, Ahmar admits that he did not see his disability as a barrier to participation because he had the support of friends and family. In addition, the support he received from Berks & Bucks FA on his coaching journey helped him achieve his FA Level 2 in Coaching Football qualification.

However, the one barrier to participation Ahmar says he experienced when he was younger and starting out in the game, was related to his ethnicity, outdated stereotypes, and associated negative perceptions.

In 2015, The Football Association (The FA) launched its ‘Bringing Opportunities to Communities’ strategy, to help increase the representation of Asian communities across English football.

Supporting this work, in 2019, The FA launched a new drive to increase Asian inclusion in football. A key strand of the campaign was a focus on the importance of role models and raising awareness of Asian ‘success stories’ in English football. A short film produced by The FA at the time featuring four Asian role models in the game aimed to disprove outdated stereotypes and provide motivation for those who want to follow in theirs and other role models’ footsteps.



Whilst progress has been made, Ahmar feels there is still more work to be done to create a wholly inclusive and diverse game where people from historically underrepresented communities feel they can take part and achieve success on any pathway into the game they choose, from playing to coaching, officiating and beyond.

As a member of our Inclusion Advisory Group (IAG) and as a newly appointed Disability Football Ambassador supporting clubs in Buckinghamshire, Ahmar is one of many within the grassroots football community in our region actively working with us to drive change and achieve a truly inclusive game, For All.

Continuing to break down barriers and promote positive role models in the game are crucial to achieving success and Ahmar believes football has a powerful part to play in changing attitudes towards inclusion, he said: “I think football can play a massive part in changing people’s perceptions towards inclusion in sport by allowing people from all backgrounds, disabilities, ages, and abilities to feel welcome and respected. Inclusive sporting environments are no longer an aspiration, they are an imperative and football has a unique opportunity to drive this change.”

Asked what he would say to anyone reading this article who might be questioning whether they could or should get involved in the sport, Ahmar’s message was clear: “Don’t ever think that no matter what disability you have, that you cannot make a success of anything you want to do, as the passion and commitment will help you overcome any barriers that are out there. With me having Cerebral Palsy some people might not have thought that I would be running a Football Club with many teams and making a success of it, but that's exactly what I'm doing - and you can too!.

“I would urge anyone with disabilities who has the passion for sport to get in touch with the local FA to start their journey and I am always here to give anyone help and advice along the way.”

As Ahmar himself would say, ‘Nothing is ………..

For opportunities on how to get involved in local football, in any role, and the types of support available, please contact us.

To find out more about The FA's Bringing Opportunities to Communities strategy and their drive to increase Asian inclusion in football, please visit The FA.com/AsianInclusion

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