Football Development >
From Grassroots to Professional Football
- Organisation: London Tigers
- Established: in 1986 as Marylebone FC, becoming London Tigers in 2000.
- Location: London
Probably the most successful Asian football team and community football project in London, the London Tigers were established in 1986 by a team of volunteers in order to provide opportunities in participation for the Asian and ethnic minority community. Their main goal is to give opportunities for socially deprived communities to excel and in sport, education and life. The project is based in Westminster but its programmes outreach to Central and West London.
Obtaining charity status in 2003, the London Tigers aim to provide and create opportunities for the community through engaging marginalised and vulnerable groups. This is achieved through a structured and comprehensive football development programme, including numerous structured coaching opportunities for girls and boys. Additionally pathways are created to other sports, including cricket and basketball, with an emphasis on developing opportunities in participation, coaching, training and education.
Their community programme has over 500 members from 60 nationalities including Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Somali, Iraqi, Jamaican and English participants, thus denoting a vibrant and inclusive project. The keys to the future of such projects are resources and funding. Currently they are seeking full-time development workers for youth football coaching and provision for girls and women.
The London Tigers has developed a structured football in the community programme incorporating 11 junior teams at U9, U11, U13, U15, U16, U18, U21 in numerous leagues in Central and West London, along with 6 senior teams. This season has seen the development of London Tigers first semi-professional team the Kingsbury London Tigers, alongside developing coaching sessions, tournaments, competitions and cross-borough football leagues.
Three key tournaments organised annually are the London Community Cohesion Cup, London Unity Cup and the prestigious UK Asian Community Cup Football festival in partnership with Chelsea FC, where the final is played at Stamford Bridge, all events attracting over 1000 players and spectators every year.
The London Tigers have also represented Asian and Bangladeshi football on a national and world stage when they won the Inner city World cup in 2001, where 32 nations contested for the prodigious grassroots tournament, becoming the first Asian representative team to have won it, as well as being runners up in 1998 and 2004. They have also organised international tours to Bangladesh, Sweden, Denmark and Mexico.
This season they are developing the first league across five London Boroughs; Westminster, Camden, Tower Hamlets, Ealing and Brent. The London United Football League works in partnership with QPR FC where the league cup final will be played at Loftus Road.
Mesba Ahmed, founder and director of London Tigers has created a groundbreaking project that is a forerunner in future provision, not only in West and Central London, but also with ambitions to replicate its work throughout London and beyond. The London Tigers Football Project deserves recognition for demonstrating that grassroots community projects have the skills, energy and enthusiasm to develop the next generation of Asian players, coaches, managers and volunteers.
“We see ourselves as providing role models and encouragement to other Asians who would like to help create pathways for their own community in sports. We are here to create opportunities to help fulfill every young Asian persons dreams of becoming the next Asian professional sports personality and I am confident we are on the right track.”
Mesba Ahmed, Founder Director of London Tigers
The outstanding community work of London Tigers has seen them awarded the inaugural Westminster Local Leadership Award 2004 and more recently the GG2 Leadership & Diversity Award 2006. For more information visit the London Tigers website or call 020 72893395.