It’s been a busy summer for our Fans for Diversity campaign, here Anwar Uddin talks us through some of the highlights…
Watford Welcome: training staff at the Premier League club
In the run up to the 2018-19 season kicking-off Anwar delivered a diversity training session at Vicarage Road for more than 100 members of the club’s staff.
The ‘Watford Welcome’ initiative seeks to improve the awareness of diversity and potential barriers to live football at all levels of the club – including administrative staff, coaches, academy staff and stewards.
“At a lot of clubs diversity training can be tokenistic but this isn’t the case at Watford – they really want to embed it in everything they do.
“It’s good to see a club being proactive on it.”
Anwar covered a wide range of topics for Watford’s employees including disability, religion and sexuality.
“At every level of the club they’re keen for staff to understand the problems, often unseen, that many fans face to attending live football. There was a lot of great feedback.”
Fans for Diversity: Guidance Group
The brand-new Fans for Diversity Guidance group met for the first time at Kick it Out’s 25th anniversary event to begin its work on the campaign.
The Guidance Group is a small network of like-minded individuals from across football who will provide valuable feedback on the current work of the Fans for Diversity campaign, as well as suggesting and exploring new areas of work.
There was a lot of interest and Anwar had the difficult task of whittling down the 100 applicants to the 20 who will make up the group.
“It was a really positive first meeting,” Anwar said. “I’m really pleased with how the group’s come together.
“There’s so much expertise and experience we can draw on.”
The Guidance Group is made up of volunteers from across the country who follow football at all levels of the game. As well as match-going experience, the group contains an eclectic mix of firemen, lawyers, charity workers, non-league volunteers and more.
“We had a lot to talk about,” Anwar said. “Already we’ve had some excellent feedback and ideas for new areas of work for the campaign.
“The group has a lot of potential to really help Fans for Diversity grow and improve. I’m really looking forward to working with them.”
England fans in Russia
Back in 2016 the Fans for Diversity campaign captured supporters enjoying the European Championships across London – and it’s something Anwar was keen to do again for the World Cup.
This time however, it was the few thousand hardy souls who made the trip out to Russia that were in focus – with photographer David Shaw behind the camera.
“England had a great tournament and David has captured some great moments, particularly of fans supporting the team from the stands.
“When you see England fans documented in this way you realise how diverse they are – they come from all walks of life.”
Anwar plans to exhibit David’s pictures of England’s travelling support in London before Christmas, in a similar format to the successful Capturing The Euros exhibit in 2016.
Location scouting is ongoing, and once secured, the exhibition should be taking place before the new year.
“We’re always quick to hear about the negatives when it comes to England fans,” Anwar said. “But this is a chance for us to show the positive side of England’s support.”
- The Fans For Diversity campaign provides funding for supporters who want to launch an event or initiative that celebrates diversity. Apply for the Fans For Diversity Fund here or contact Anwar Uddin on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Fans for Diversity is a joint campaign run with Kick It Out, football's anti-discrimination group. Find out more about the campaign here.