NDA23 Winner Interview: Muslimah Sports Association (MSA)

30th January 2024

Community Organisation Award: Race, Religion & Faith


Multi-award winning Muslimah Sports Association (MSA) is recognised through the industry as the largest Muslim women’s sports charity in England. The MSA works tirelessly to advocate on behalf of ethnically diverse and Muslim women in sports. Not satisfied with their achievement, MSA felt it was important to have a voice and seat with those who establish policies and strategies in sports affecting minority communities. The MSA are leading the discussions with National Governing Bodies, championing diversity and inclusion to be embedded throughout stakeholder organisations. MSA trustees have gained positions in other organisations such as iNED at Essex FA, Youth Sports Trust, and Muslim Women Network, as well as advisory boards, encouraging diverse voices at the decision-making tables. MSA has engaged with over 1500 participants and created over 100 coaches from diverse communities across a range of sports.


Muslimah Sports Association


We spoke with Muslimah Sports Association after they won the Community Organisation Award: Race, Religion & Faith at The National Diversity Awards 2023. Here’s what they had to say:


How did it feel when you received the email to advise that you had been nominated for a National Diversity Award?

It was quite a surprise. To know someone had taken the time to write the nomination was quite humbling. It is always a nice to know that what we are doing is making a difference to somebody. When you have been running the charity for so long you sometime forget the difference you are making to individual lives and how important the work is, so receiving the news was a wonderful reminder to carry on because we are making a difference and people do appreciate that.  


After the excitement of the shortlist announcement and after patiently waiting for the final result, how did you feel when it was announced that you were the official winner of the Celebrity of the year Award: Race, Religion & Faith?

It was such tough competition in our category. The other nominees are doing such phenomenal work that the fact we had been nominated and shortlisted was recognition enough. We were sat at the back of the hall, so we had this theory that we were strategically placed to not win!! To then learn we had won the award was a total shock and I think my face said it all! It was such an honour to win because of all the hard work our charity has done throughout the years. Sports may not seem important to many, but it is such an important outlet for so many of our women. In fact the sports has almost become secondary because of the friendships and sisterhood we have created.


You are officially a National Diversity Award Winner! Moving forward, how will you utilise this to further leverage your cause?

We know how prestigious it is to win this award and we hope this national recognition will now give us the platform and approval to get to the next level.


What were your thoughts on the National Diversity Awards Ceremony?

Absolutely loved the beautiful setting and food. Service was great and so was the whole evening.


Nominations for the National Diversity Awards 2024 are due to open early next year! What advice would you give to others who are thinking of entering the awards?

Please do ask friends/family/members to nominate you. You thoroughly deserve the recognition for the work you do and others need to know about the work you do, and you never know, like us you might be surprised when you win too!


Did receiving the award benefit you in anyway? If so, how?

Yes we were able to buy much needed equipment for our sessions.


What have you been up to since September, any exciting developments you would like to tell our audience about?

So much has happened since the awards – we have won more awards and started delivering more activities!


Why do you think it is important to recognise role models and community organisations from underrepresented communities for their work?

So many times, the work we do goes under the radar and it is forgotten by the volunteers and workers how important the work is. To be recognised gives you a boost and a sense of pride because the work is appreciated. Underrepresented communities are often doing this work on a shoestring, but we keep on going, trying to make ends meet because we don’t want to let our members/participants down. Recognition in any form, whether that’s being nominated, shortlisted or even winning, is always important.