City Sikhs Network and Football
On 6th February 2013, 20 members from the City Sikhs Network were privileged to attend the England v Brazil football match as guests of the FA as part of their drive to encourage greater engagement with the British Sikh community. For most of the guests, it was their first time at any football game.
To mark this event, the City Sikhs Network commissioned a survey looking at British Sikhs and the world of football. The majority of those responding had never attended a single football match for a variety of reasons ranging from fear of racism and the pricing of tickets through to lack of people to attend with. In addition to that, only 30% of respondents were aware that 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the FA.
The guests at Wembley Stadium were surprised by the carnival atmosphere, the music, and the general good nature of the crowd. Randeep Buttar, a member of the City Sikhs Network, said “Watching my home nation play one of the best teams in the world was an awesome experience. To see England beat Brazil for the first time in almost 23 years was the icing on the cake. It was my first time to a football match, and my first time to Wembley. I’ll definitely do it again”.
Jasvir Singh, a director of the City Sikhs Network, said “Initiatives such as this are important to promote greater social integration within the British Sikh community, especially in light of the successes of London 2012. Although racism has historically been a fear for sports fans, on the whole that is no longer the case. For many of our members today, this experience has opened their eyes up to the beauty of sport as spectators and hopefully as participants too.”
The FA seeks to ensure football is for everyone and that sometimes means reaching out to new and diverse groups. That is why building connections with community stakeholders such as the one with the British Sikh community is very important to The FA and Wembley.
The City Sikhs Network is committed towards improving access to sports in the UK for British Sikhs, be it as spectators, as coaches or trainers, and even as sportsmen and women.
For more information about the City Sikhs Network, please visit www.citysikhs.org.uk.