The 10th October witnessed a historic moment for the advance of tangible BAME communities inclusion and for the British Nation & People in the context of football.
At Aldershot Town FC, hosted by Mr Shahid Azeem (Chair) and Mr Waleed Khan (Director) on the joint initiative of the Football Supporters Association ‘Diversity in Football’ lead Mr Anwar Uddin, Mr Tony Burnett (CEO of Kick it Out) — the two main UK organisations working for inclusion of Diverse Communities in football and the counteracting of racism and all other forms of prejudice in football playing and football supporting contexts — in conjunction with One Community Hampshire and Dorset (OCHD: https://www.ochd.org.uk/ : Chief Patron, Lord Rami Ranger) and the UK Nepal Friendship Society (Official Patron H.E. the Ambassador of Nepal to the UK, Mr Lok Darshan Regmi: www.uknfs.org), a ground-breaking event was held to launch a joint initiative by the four organisations that have signed a partnership agreement.
This ‘One Game One Community’ initiative developed through FSA, KIO, OCHD and UKNFS collaboration to counteract racism and boost pan-Asian (Nepali, Sikh, Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Sri Lankan) and broader BAME communities participation football in the UK, was historic in nature. It could not have been launched at a more important location.
Home of the British Army, and home of the largest and most long established Nepali (largely Gurkha – Nepali) community, Aldershot, the event witnessed only senior leads of the local and national Nepali community, and senior representatives of other South Asian communities.
Beyond these the VIP guests and guests speakers were truly illustrious from internationally renowned footballers, very senior England FA officers, through to Lord Rami Ranger and the High Commission of India, through to the brilliant UN level recognised traditional Indian dance performer Dr Ragasudha Vinjamuri (image above) who opened the event programme with a spectacular Hindu dance, with valuable overview of the significance of the dance, provided by Dr Sanjukta Ghosh of SOAS (OCHD Advisor).
Nepali food was also enabled through the assistance of Mr Hiradhan Rai (UKNFS Chief Advisor, and an OCHD Advisor). In addition one of the VIP guests included Mr Dhan Gurung (Gurkha Satyagraha), one of the three heroic Nepali- Gurkha hunger strikers (the hunger strike featuring in national/BBC and international news but a few weeks ago).
OCHD with the UKNFS wish to record a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Mr Anwar Uddin (himself a nationally renowned footballer: to left in the image above) with Mr Shahid Azeem, in conjunction with KIO, for enabling this historic event for football and for building further a truly inclusive Britain through football.
OCHD CEO Mr Pritheepal Singh (above), not only was the principal MC for the event, but also contributed a major insightful talk about the unique value of the initiative before the commencement of the panel discussion part of the event.
Both OCHD and the UKNFS also wish to record their appreciation to all three branches of the UK Armed Forces having senior officers leading on Armed Forces equality & inclusion for attending and contributing to the event, as well as to the FA and to The Royal British Legion (TRBL) and to NHS England.
Watch this space for more news about the impact of the event and initiative! An online follow up event is being planned for later in November, and a Parliament/House of Lords event in January 2021.
LATER NEXT WEEK THIS ARTICLE WILL BE UPDATED TO INCLUDE BACKGROUND TO AND FURTHER DETAILS CONCERING THE FSA/KIO/OCHD/UKNFS PARTNERSHIP and OUTCOMES/ACTIONS RESULTING FROM THE INITIATIVE LAUNCH