"These adverts show that we're not wanted in football"
: the role of advertising in understanding the complexity of BSA football inclusion/exclusion

  • Samandeep Singh Chouhan

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    There is, and always has been, a vast under-representation of BSAs in English football. Since its inception in 1888, only a select few South-Asian heritage players have managed to acquire professional contracts. Whilst important gains have been made over the last fifteen years, there has been very little change. It is through listening to, and hearing BSA voices, that English football can move closer to accommodating the largest ethnic minority group in Britain. This qualitative research study explored the role advertising (non-)representations have on contemporary BSA football inclusion/exclusion dynamics, from their perspective, especially as the identity of the BSA is constantly changing, adapting and evolving.

    This study combined a Spatiality and Critical Race Theory approach. A database of televised advertisements which feature sport as the principle ‘corporate marketing tool’ was created to provide context and further rationale for the focus of this study. In order to identify how BSAs respond to advertising (non-)representations, and to analyse its significance to their football inclusion/exclusion, a triangulation research design was employed; (i) Phase I had a BSA community-centred focus whereby opinions and experiences of English football was analysed, in addition to perceptions of advertising representations; (ii) Phase II identified how non-BSAs interpret the same advertisements, and (iii) Phase III explored the experiences of BSAs who currently reside across sport and English football. Research was recorded, transcribed and analysed using the Constructivist Grounded Theory technique, allowing for key themes to emerge and responses to football inclusion/exclusion to be discussed and re-conceptualised.

    Findings illustrate three key outcomes: (i) advertising representations play a significant role in informing BSA football inclusion/exclusion, however its level of influence is determined by several socio-cultural and ethno-religious circumstances, (ii) young BSAs are governed by a ‘new Asian mentality’ which creates a sense of belonging and empowerment, and (iii) inclusion in English football for BSAs is far complex than first imagined. These factors have been synthesised and a conceptual model to evaluate its significance is proposed.
    Date of AwardApr 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorHazel Barrett (Supervisor), Guy Daly (Supervisor) & Eva Kipnis (Supervisor)

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