Zuleikha Chikh

UCLan Student Listed as One of the 30 Most Influential Muslim Women in Sport

BSc (Hons) Sport Business Management student, Zuleikha Chikh, has been selected on the 2019 Powerlist by the Muslim Women in Sport Network (MWSN), alongside names like FIFA General Secretary, Fatma Samoura; H.R.H. Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud, and BBC Sport Journalist, Reshmin Chowdhury.

Zuleikha Chikh

Zuleikha Chikh

Zuleikha was included on the list because of her is passion and success at increasing the representation of people from ethnic minorities in leadership positions in the football industry. Zuleikha is the founder of UCLan Women’s Futsal Club and using the power of sport she brings women together from different backgrounds, boosts their confidence and creates leaders.

Zuleikha commented: “Sport can bring people together, create a sense of community, and empower disadvantaged groups. It increases physical, psychological and social wellbeing and gives players a sense of belonging.

“Sport helps people develop confidence, leadership, communication and teamwork skills which are needed in everyday life. Those that take part in sport are generally healthier, have a high level of educational attainment and are more sociable. Sport is a great tool for women’s empowerment to create leaders, reduce marginalisation and dismantle stereotypes.”

In 2018, Zuleikha’s voluntary work within women’s football has also earned her a nomination from British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) for their Higher Education Hero award - a nomination put forward by UCLan’s Football Development Officer, Cian McEvoy who Zuleikha describes as being ‘absolutely pivotal’ in her journey.

“These are national awards and the nominees include the manager of the Aston Villa ladies team. Some amazing women have been nominated who have completed their UEFA B Licence! I really wasn’t expecting a nomination for this. I was just doing it because I’m passionate about women’s football but it’s always nice to receive that recognition.

“In addition to this, I received the Community Legends Awards from the Centre for Volunteering & Community Leadership (CVCL) – which came as a result of 300 hours of volunteering work including some for the Red Cross, feeding refugees and asylum seekers. I received the UCLan Sport’s Volunteer Award with eight other people so that was really nice as well.”

Zuleikha has recently been successful in her application onto the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) Youth Panel, which has been created to provide the board of trustees with an authentic perspective from young people involved and interested in sport and physical activity. This is a valuable opportunity for those on the panel to influence the policy and direction of the sector’s chartered professional body.

UCLan is one of 10 UK universities that is piloting a scheme set up by CIMSPA that will finalise the endorsement and recognition process for UK sport and physical activity-related degree programmes.

Zuleikha holds a number of other positions, including Coach at Sir Tom Finney Football Club, Youth Sport Trust Team Leader, British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Football Development Student Management Group, and Lancashire FA Inclusion Advisory Group.  In March 2019, Zuleika was named the Volunteer of the Year (aged 14-24 years) at the Preston Sports Awards.

Zuleikha has taken advantage of the opportunities available to her at UCLan. She commented:

“When it came to choosing which course I’d study, I was initially stuck between two options; Sports Coaching or Sport Business Management. I had already coached trampolining, so I chose Sport Business Management to give me a bit of a change. I thought that this course would give me more choices and more opportunities after graduation. As a result, I decided to do coaching as a hobby and learn about the principles of business in an actual degree. I want to work in women’s football eventually.”

Zuleikha spends much of her time volunteering at UCLan’s Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre where she coaches her own under 10s team, as well as futsal sessions for female students and disability classes.

“It’s absolutely amazing, it gives you so many opportunities and it teaches you about leadership, teamwork, and communication. Working with other UCLan coaches has also enabled me to develop great friendships and given me so many life skills that have already hugely benefitted me”.

When asked about her favourite thing about UCLan, Zuleikha states: “I’d have to say the amazing sports facilities such as the Sports Arena and the Sir Tom Finney Soccer Centre which is free to UCLan students. When I started at UCLan I also tried out some other sports such as basketball which was great fun.”

To find out more about Zuleikha’s course, see our BSc (Hons) Sport Business Management webpage and follow our social media channels:

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01 April 2019