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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Wednesday, March 17

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on the UK’s first grassroots club for Muslim women

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Hi, everyone!

I am currently in the process of discovering how hard it is to type with a tight bandage at the top of your index finger.

Ramble of the Day

Last week, the BBC published an article about Sisterhood FC, a grassroots club thought to be the first women’s Muslim football club in the UK. Founder Yasmin Abdullahi spoke about creating the club and her hopes of expanding it, and I found the piece to spotlight both the community a grassroots club can bring and the impact representation has.

Abdullahi spells out the importance of creating her team early in the piece, writing about conversations she had at an event celebrating Iftar:

I would tell them I studied education studies and I’m in a women’s football team for Goldsmiths - and they gasped.

They were literally asking “you wear a hijab and play football?”

I didn’t understand why it was such a shock, because nothing made me ever stop playing sports, not if I’m a girl, not if I’m Muslim, nothing has ever come across my mind to say I shouldn’t do any type of sport.

So, for me, it was just so shocking, and honestly quite sad to see that these girls use those reasons as an excuse. So they asked, “oh, can you train us?”

It is probably one of the most straightforward anecdotes I’ve seen on the impact of representation in football. This sport has not been an inclusive space for many, and for others has only been inclusive for a short period of time so far — Abdullahi notes later in the piece that FIFA only got rid of a rule banning players from wearing hijabs in 2014.

It also reminds me of the well-rounded idea of inclusivity in football. To tie it into last week’s recommended article on the lack of diversity in the England women’s team, the practice of inclusion at lower levels in the game should hopefully reap the rewards of having national teams representative of their nations. Football is a larger being than just the professional game, though, and it should be inclusive at every level.

There’s a level of understanding at Sisterhood FC for Muslim players that maybe doesn’t exist elsewhere, as Abdullahi notes: “We could be training and then it will be time to pray and we’d immediately stop playing, whether we’re outside or not, and pray.” Sisterhood FC existing creates an understanding and safe place for its players, and hopefully its existence can teach others about creating more inclusive environments.

Links of the Day

Belgian Pro League clubs voted in favor of a combined league with the Netherlands called the BeNe League.

The 2020-21 season was voided for tiers three through six of women’s football in England.

Former Oldham and Lincoln forward Maheta Molongo is the new chief executive of the PFA.

Manchester United women will play its first match at Old Trafford this month against West Ham.

Basketball star LeBron James will become a partner in Fenway Sports Group, owner of Liverpool.

A longer read: Julia Poe profiles Tottenham goalkeeper Brandon Austin as he begins a loan spell in MLS with Orlando City for the Orlando Sentinel