West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce was interviewed for a BBC programme on Muslim footballers in the Barclays Premier League, which aired on Sunday.

Forty Muslim players now feature in the top flight of English football and Big Sam believes that is an indicator of how inclusive the game is.

Speaking on The Muslim Premier League, Allardyce explained how the Hammers embrace players from all cultures.


He said: "We're fortunate enough to have a chaplain who comes in on a regular basis. The chaplain is well-versed with the lads and is adept at talking to the players, particularly about their religious beliefs.

"He does quite a bit of the liaison with me to help the players for their particular way or their particular need. You have to make sure you have a prayer room, halal meat if you need it. That's all very, very important to you to make sure everybody is integrated into the club.

"I think we live in a multicultural society full stop. Our integration is one of the best in the world. While you'll never get rid of some of the problems that occur between religions or race, generally in this country and particularly in football we're all blessed to be footballers and we're all blessed to be together.

"We choose to get on together because that helps you to become a better team and if you're a better team you live life a better way. There shouldn't be anything that causes you too many frictions or frustrations when you're getting paid for something you love doing. The team spirit and integration at West Ham has been fantastic."

The Hammers have shown themselves to be at the forefront of inclusion in football through their successful Community Sports Trust, which was the first in the country to launch a scheme targeted at the Asian community back in 1998.

The Asians in Football scheme aims to increase participation in football among the local Asian community in Tower Hamlets and Newham, as well as training up Asian coaches.

As the scheme has progressed, the Hammers have also hosted the UK Asian Community Cup at the Boleyn Ground, and are opening up pathways for talent from the Asian community through to mainstream football.

Rashid Abba, Social Inclusion Projects Manager at the West Ham United Community Sports Trust said: "When West Ham launched the Asians in Football scheme in 1998, no other club had done that. It has gone on to be hugely successful and the work of the Trust here can be used as an example for other clubs to follow.

"At the Community Sports Trust we have coaches from all different backgrounds, so it is very diverse and it reflects our local community."

Watch The Muslim Premier League on the BBC iPlayer by clicking here.