Anwar Uddin, the FSF's Fans for Diversity campaign manager, has been heading-up some high-profile events for us recently. We spoke to him to find out more...
Fans for Diversity Exhibition
Throughout late-October, the Fans for Diversity campaign held a special exhibition at Oxford House, Bethnal Green, London, highlighting the work of photographer Liam Aylott.
Liam's summer project Capturing the Euros in London set about photographing football fans across the capital supporting their team in the Euros.
The exhibition, the first of its kind attempted by the Fans for Diversity campaign, was a great success according to Anwar.
"We're really pleased with how it went," Anwar said. "We had more than 200 people come to the launch and another 200 or so visited it over the next two weeks.
"It’s generated a lot of interest in the work. We’ve had football clubs asking if they can show it at their stadiums and museums asking if they can have it in their galleries."
Anwar said the success of the exhibition will help the Fans for Diversity campaign integrate more artistic and visual projects into its future work.
Cambridge University - Annual Race & Equality Lecture
Anwar was one of the keynote speakers at the Annual Race & Equality Lecture at Cambridge Union this month. The high-profile lecture looks at some of the biggest issues around diversity - Anwar spoke to the audience about his experiences as one of the very few British-Asian footballers and his work with supporters on the Fans for Diversity campaign.
"There were some very tough questions from the audience!" Anwar told us. "The students there are among the brightest around and some of them are doing their dissertations on these very topics - so it wasn't an easy ride.
"But it was enjoyable and very worthwhile."
The lecture is part of Cambridge’s celebration of Black History Month, and features speakers reflecting on the under-representation of Black and minority-ethnic people in academia, sports and business.
Anwar was joined on the panel by Professor Laura Serrant, Race Equality Charter Patron and Dr Sandie Okoro, General Counsel of HSBC Global Asset Management, previously named as the FT’s Upstanding 100 Leading Ethnic Minority Executives.
Fans for Diversity Award
The FSF Awards are one of the highlights of our year, and the event has enjoyed a growing profile over recent years. Apt then that this year we're debuting the Fans for Diversity award to recognise supporter groups that have done exceptional work to promote diversity in the stands.
“It’s a great opportunity to showcase our own work and as well as the positive work we see in football," Anwar said of the award.
The six groups nominated for the award are: Bangla Bantams, Blues 4 All, Boiler Room Ladies, Pride in Football, Punjabi Rams and the Saints Disabled Supporters Association.
Anwar said: "This award celebrates supporter groups that have a real impact at their clubs and in their communities, and are making the match day experience more inclusive."
Along with the Supporter Liaison Officer of the year, Away Day of the year and Fanzine of the year the winner of this award will be chosen by an FSF panel.
"It’s going to be so hard to pick a winner," Anwar said. "They all have real passion for what they do. It’s really great to be able to acknowledge them in some way."
And finally... England Fans FC
Anwar replaced his players' shorts with smart managerial clobber when he recently took charge of England Fans FC to play a Scotland fans team ahead of the home nations' fixture.
He said: "I’ve been going to the England home and away games and getting to know some of the regular England away fans. Garford Beck got in touch and asked me to get involved.
“We didn't start well, we went 3-1 down but we got ourselves together and pulled it back to 3-3. We went to win on penalties!"
Having lost the previous three fixtures against the Scottish team, England Fans FC must be pleased with Anwar's managerial acumen delivering a (narrow) win!
The Fans for Diversity campaign is joint area of work between the Football Supporters' Federation and Kick it Out. Learn more about the campaign here.