As part of the Football Association’s current Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) strategy, called ‘A Game for All’, the sport’s governing body in this country produced a ‘Belief in the Game’ guide to explain the historic connections between faith and football.
Since its formation as an organised game in the 19th century, football has been intrinsically linked to religion, with a number of well-known modern-day clubs formed by members of Christian church leaders and congregations or church-related community groups, including Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City, Everton, Manchester City, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur.
In the ensuing 150 years, football’s links to religious groups have expanded and strengthened, with the formation of clubs by members of the Jewish, Islamic, Sikh and other denominations, the rules and laws of the game being adapted to allow footballers to observe their religious teachings, the formation of supporters’ groups, and the celebrating of religious festivals by Clubs, their owners, staff, players and supporters.
Throughout its history, West Ham United has embraced people of all religious faiths and backgrounds, and continues to work closely with players, staff, supporters’ groups and individual fans as part of the Club’s ongoing dedication and commitment to EDI – a commitment that was recognised by the presentation of the Premier League’s presentation of the Advanced level of the Premier League Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Standard (PLEDIS) in 2020, and again in October 2023.
The current men’s and women’s first-team squads both include followers of the Christian and Islamic faiths, while the Academy of Football has players and staff of faith across its age-groups.
With them, as well as parents and supporters, in mind, the Club has introduced a host of provisions, including multi-faith rooms, halal food, and Friday prayers led by an invited Imam at Rush Green and Chadwell Heath training grounds.
Separate multi-faith rooms are also available for men and women at London Stadium. These are located at blocks 103 and 104, and our Supporter Liaison Officers would be happy to point you in the right direction should you require the use of a room on matchday.