Sport continues to play a prominent role in debates around the inclusion and exclusion of minority groups in Britain. Despite its legacy of racist chanting and abuse in the professional game, English soccer is now increasingly promoted by the British government and the English Football Association (FA) as having a central role to play in challenging racism and increasing the involvement of ethnic minorities in British civic society. This essay attempts to begin to account for the - often problematic - experiences of ethnic minorities in the grass roots game by focusing on those who organize and control local football. Particular attention is paid to the amateurist origins of County Football Associations (CFAs) that emerged in Victorian Britain and continue to inform decision making and the priorities at these associations. It focuses on how those in positions of power at this level - Council Members - are coming to terms with the increasingly diverse nature of their playing population. It uses research undertaken at five CFAs across England that elicited the opinions of those within CFAs with regard to the FA's 'Sports Equity Strategy'. This new FA document requires CFAs to take positive action to increase the involvement of ethnic minorities across their local game, including within the CFAs themselves. The essay also discusses some of the reasons why many members of CFAs have difficulty in supporting such race equality initiatives. It explores the ways in which racialized narratives become particularly relevant in understanding such resistance. It is argued that the difficulties faced by ethnic minorities in English local football are better understood when analysing the complex ways that 'race' is employed to legitimize the positions of those currently in charge of the game.