Chelsea Foundation

BCOMS partnership expands to offer aspiring journalists from under-represented backgrounds access to qualifications

The Chelsea FC Foundation has teamed up with The Black Collective of Media in Sport (BCOMS), an organisation on a mission to diversify the sports media in the UK, to offer aspiring sports journalists from under-represented backgrounds free access to journalistic qualifications.

As part of Chelsea’s No To Hate campaign, supported and funded by club owner Roman Abramovich, the bursary programme is the latest initiative to increase representation within the football industry and our wider communities.

For the past 18 months the club has collaborated with BCOMS to provide a press seat at each home game for their students, helping provide professional access and opportunity to young aspiring journalists who might otherwise not have the chance to attend, experience and report on elite football.

The expanded partnership with BCOMS announced today will see more journalists from diverse backgrounds attending football matches and other sporting events in future. Two aspiring journalists will be selected for NCTJ courses starting in February 2022, following an open application process targeting under-represented groups in the sports media. The bursary will completely cover the cost of the qualifications as well as offering a contribution towards living costs. Applicants will be asked to submit a written, audio or video presentation on what the bursary would mean for them and why diversity within the sports media is important.

Steve Atkins, director of communications at Chelsea, said: ‘We are determined that football should reflect the communities we serve and this latest initiative will increase the opportunities for people who love writing about sport, not just playing or coaching it.

‘It is important to everyone at this club that we use our prominent position in world sports to lead the way in promoting equality and diversity. Raising awareness of the issues around media representation and inclusion is an important strand of the club’s wider No To Hate programme, a programme we believe will make a real and tangible difference to our club, our communities and the football industry as a whole.’

Leon Mann MBE, the founder of BCOMS, added: ‘BCOMS has been on a mission to diversify the sports media for more than a decade and we have seen some progress in that time – however, there is a long way to go in achieving this goal. This initiative with the Chelsea FC Foundation is about impact and positive change, and will genuinely be life-changing for the successful applicants. We are delighted to be working with the club on this.’

Launched in March 2021, the No To Hate programme was established following the racist abuse sent to Reece James and other Chelsea players on social media, expanding and amplifying Chelsea’s existing equality campaigns. The initiative has been developed to tackle discrimination through educational initiatives, providing opportunities to increase diversity within the football industry as well as celebrating Chelsea’s own diversity on and off the pitch.

The bursary scheme follows the recent announcement of the Foundation’s funding for the FA Mentee Development Programme which is offering aspiring coaches the chance to undertake advanced UEFA qualifications and will see 10 coaches join the FA’s Elite coaching programmes.

Other recent initiatives include our ground-breaking partnership with the ADL in schools in London and the US, the Chelsea photo competition in partnership with world renowned photographer Mel D. Cole as well as the This is Us project celebrating Chelsea’s own black history launching later this month.

Chelsea has also engaged the Crisp agency to moderate, delete and report discriminatory posts on club social media channels. The club has also been working with the football authorities and police to identify and take action against people engaging in discriminatory abuse online and at Stamford Bridge.

Applications are now open and close on 15 November 2021.

How to apply

To apply for the bursary please email info@bcoms.co with the following:

- 300 words or an audio/video file (no longer than one minute) on why diversity in the sports media is important and how a bursary would help you push forward in your career.

- Your latest CV

For further information please contact info@bcoms.co

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