Football Association to host Vaisakhi and Ramadan events at Wembley Stadium

At two FA faith and football events at Wembley Stadium, a timeline and production of South Asian-American female players in the modern English game will be the first of their kind. Attending are some of the nation’s best football players of South Asian descent. At Wembley, the first timeline and exhibit documenting the history of female English game players will be displayed. Wembley Stadium will host Vaisakhi and Ramadan events for the Football Association.

On Saturday, the home of English football will host the third major Ramadan football celebration in north London in the past two weeks. The supporters’ group Spurs REACH held the first Ramadan Iftar at Tottenham’s home stadium. It was born 24 hours after Arsenal hosted a masterclass for South Asian heritage coaches with the PFA, with an Iftar meal served after sunset.

Football Association to host Vaisakhi and Ramadan events at Wembley Stadium

On Monday, a Vaisakhi celebration will also occur at Wembley, and nearly 2000 people of all faiths are anticipated to attend both. The Vaisakhi occasion will see Ardaas, a Sikh supplication, occur pitch side close to the Wembley turf for the first time. Before the exhibit was moved to Wembley Stadium, Britain’s first turban-wearing Sikh Member of Parliament, Tan Dhesi, went to the Singh Sabha Sports Centre in his home constituency of Slough. Dev Trehan, a journalist and FA Level 2 scout curated the timeline. At both events, he will talk to guests about the journey of South Asian women in football, the work that went into creating the groundbreaking timeline, and why the project could change English football forever.

It was unveiled at the end of last month at Chelsea Football Club’s Stamford Bridge stadium, following an initial pilot at Gymkhana, a century-old West London sports club. It is part of a more prominent showcase with Sporting Equals, featuring four community role models currently playing women’s league football.  Rai said that it was an honor to be invited to speak at the Vaisakhi event at Wembley Stadium. She hopes the timeline and showcase will pique people’s interest and serve as a platform for increasing diversity and female representation in the sport.

Coventry United player and England youth international Simran Jhamat, who will also speak at the Vaisakhi event, added,

” Being a part of this legacy project is fantastic. I hope this inspires both parents and children because seeing is believing.

Eartha Pond, a non-independent FA Women’s National Board director and former England international praised the timeline as a celebration of “greatness” in the game when she spoke at the inaugural Women’s Copa Del CL charity tournament at St. George’s Park.

“I’m lucky enough to have played at every level, from centers of excellence to academies to the elite group to England, and I have seen the transition. I played with many South Asian players, even from the grassroots level, at 14. They have been playing, and I don’t think it has been captured.

Football Association to host Vaisakhi and Ramadan events at Wembley Stadium

“So it’s great to see the very, very pleasing showcase. It’s just about celebrating, there is so much greatness within the game, and it’s not just about diversity in terms of color. It’s also about diversity regarding mindset, experiences, and cultures. That’s what Britain brings.”

Yashmin Harun, chair of the Muslimah Sports Association and a FA National Game Board member, stated that the featured players are helping convert dreamers into believers.

“It’s essential to understand the history of South Asian female players in the game and reflect on their journeys to get to where we want to get to in terms of making elite women’s football more diverse and representative of the nation,” she said.

“These inspiring women are brilliant role models changing how we look at the game and paving the way for the next generation to thrive. They are turning dreamers into believers, and it’s essential to shine a light on them and celebrate their achievements.

The exhibition’s visibility, according to QPR’s Manisha Tailor, who received an MBE in 2017 for her contributions to football and diversity in sport, can make all the difference for talented South Asian girls already in the system.

“It’s brilliant because what it allows us to see that we do exist, and we are here, and there is a space for people like myself, who are looking to forge a career in the game,” Tailor said.

“With all these brilliant pioneers and players represented on these brilliant infographics. That will inspire other young girls coming through the talent pathway to believe they can have a career in the game. And that is all we want. We must have visible role models who can inspire the next generation of young South Asian girls.”

 

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