Birmingham City supporters group Blues 4 All make the rare decision to sponsor first-team member Brandon Khela.
Sikh-Punjabi midfielder Khela signed senior terms at St Andrew’s earlier this summer, becoming the first British South Asian to sign a professional contract with Birmingham City.
Addressed exclusively to Sky Sports News At the time, Blues 4 All, which is affiliated with the Fans for Diversity campaign, described the news as “enormous” – and a momentous occasion for people around the world.
The group decided to sponsor Birmingham City Women’s goalkeeper Lucy Thomas this season after being inspired by the Punjabi Rams supporters club, which Sky Sports News revealed that they are extending their sponsorship of winger Kira Rai for a fifth season.
And Blues 4 All also took the opportunity to sponsor Khela, with band chairman Micky Singh explaining why they’re so keen to back the talented 17-year-old.
“I’ve been a supporter of the Blues for over 60 years and I’ve waited a very long time to see a Punjabi kid rise through the ranks here at Birmingham City Football Club,” Singh said. Sky Sports News.
“Brandon is a player with a lot of potential and is just one of the few youngsters of South Asian descent trying to break through.
“It’s huge credit to the Blues, who are supporting talent despite football’s painfully slow response to tackle South Asian under-representation in men’s and women’s professional football.”
Singh: Khela and Sachdev offer ‘authentic belief’
Central midfielder Khela played alongside Sheffield United youngster Sai Sachdev at England youth level over the summer.
England U18 international Sachdev has just enjoyed a weekend he will never forget after coming off the bench to make his Sheffield United debut in their league game at Stoke.
Singh added, “What a wonderful occasion for Sai and his family, Blades fans and so many others from all walks of life.
“Kids like Brandon and Sai give South Asians a heartfelt belief that they, too, belong in the game.”
Ewood Park will host Raise Your Game Rovers
Blues 4 All will be joined by Birmingham City ticketing manager Aamir Javaid for the “Elevate Your Game Rovers” event at Ewood Park on Saturday October 22, ahead of their Sky Bet Championship clash with Blackburn.
This is the first in a series of completely free events – supported by Kick It Out and the Football Supporters’ Association through the Fans for Diversity campaign – aimed at highlighting and opening up opportunities for people of South Asian descent to work in football.
The event, which builds on the return of Kick It Out’s “Raise Your Game” conference, will be held at the newly refurbished Legends Lounge in Ewood Park and provides an opportunity to meet leading figures from the industry, including England C assistant manager Anwar Uddin MBE. , and Rice Rehman of the PFA.
Kick It Out development manager and veteran anti-discrimination campaigner Troy Townsend welcomes, alongside Blackburn integration and development manager Yasir Sufi and operations manager Lynsey Talbot, who have both contributed to Rovers winning the top honor for diversity at this year’s EFL Awards. .
British South Asian football pioneer Dev Trehan will reveal how sky sports has inspired countless people by putting the subject in front of millions of eyeballs around the world, and will explain why stakeholders can no longer shirk their responsibilities to take meaningful action to improve South Asian representation in the English game .
FA Level 2 scout Trehan is the only South Asian talent scout dedicated to football in the country. He has been working for 18 months with the families of female footballers with elite potential from South Asia. Two of those players moved to West Ham to play academy football this summer.
West Ham academy graduate Uddin said Sky Sports News: “We know that British South Asians in football have always been overlooked.
“We look forward to welcoming everyone to Ewood Park. Events like this which highlight success and best practice are hugely important, and help signal opportunities and encourage more British South Asians to to participate.”
How Sky is trying to change things
sky sports recognized and began to take action to address the lack of British South Asian representation in English football – particularly in elite women’s football – in 2020 as part of its £30million pledge to tackle systemic racism and make a difference in communities across the UK.
According to the PFA, less than 10% of women’s Super League players come from diverse ethnic backgrounds. And the number of British South Asian female professionals in the top division stands at an embarrassing 0.3%, despite South Asian women making up the largest ethnic minority female group in the country.
sky sports worked with dozens of current and former players from various ethnic backgrounds, and tried to give them a platform to share their stories in an attempt to capture the imagination to inspire the next generation of footballers.
Female talent has been identified and reported directly to the Football Association and other international federations and professional clubs, as part of Sky Sports’ unprecedented commitment to British South Asians in football, which has also led us to dedicate a section of our website to raising awareness of South Asians in the game.
A number of elite and elite-potential players and their families have also been supported with mentorship and access to development opportunities off the pitch.
Earlier this year, Sky Sports also teamed up with the country’s largest sports racing equality charity, Sporting Equals, which has seen us support participation across the country, including designing the ‘Seeing is Believing’ event for century-old west London sports club Indian Gymkhana.
British South Asians in football
For more stories, features and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on skysports.com and the South Asians in the Game blog and stay tuned to Sky Sports News and our digital Sky Sports
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