Fans for Diversity three years on
April 24, 2018
Campaign goes from strength to strength
It’s been a privilege for me to lead on the Fans for Diversity campaign over the past three years. I feel fortunate to have met some truly inspirational people who are as passionate about diversity as they are for football. The love many have for the game and their team is hard to put into words.
This is something I learned a long time ago on a freezing cold night playing away at Morecambe for Dagenham & Redbridge in the National League Cup, which is a 550-mile round trip. That is tough at the best of times but what gets you through it is the fact there are half a dozen Daggers fans singing your name and supporting the team throughout the 90 minutes.
They would have taken a day off work to get there and would be getting home after 3am the next morning, plus any trip up and down the country is rarely cheap. We lost that night to a last minute goal but I think that highlights my point even more – football fans go to great lengths and make severe sacrifices to support their team.
It’s really important that with the help of everyone involved in the game, we promote the work of both Kick It Out and the Football Supporters’ Federation, and I believe the Fans for Diversity campaign can be a real benefit to all fans and bring communities closer to their clubs. It’s imperative that all fans have a voice and are able to share their concerns and delights and be able to experience the game in the best way they can, because football is for everybody.
Since it’s inception, the campaign has initiated and supported over 50 supporters groups across the country who are pioneering a new chapter of football fandom. We have seen the likes of the Bangla Bantams on the BBC’s The One Show and many other supporters groups covering all strands of diversity across all media channels.
This is in part to our Fans for Diversity Fund, which any fan can apply for financial support from to host an event or initiative prpmoting inclusion in the game. The fund has now supported over 100 fan-led events and activities which have championed diversity and brought fans together to share the game they all love.
Football has for me improved a great deal over the two decades I have been involved in the game as a player, coach, manager and now lead on the Fans for Diversity campaign. There is still room for improvement and I believe with the help of football fans across the country we can work towards positive changes and start to see a real impact.
Anwar Uddin, FSF Diversity & Campaigns Manager