Bangla Bantams scoop Fans For Diversity accolade
It was an evening of celebration in London on Monday (5 December) as the inaugural Fans For Diversity award was presented at the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) awards.
Six supporters’ groups were nominated for their outstanding work in promoting inclusion in their local communities with Bangla Bantams winning the inaugural accolade for their incredible progress in Bradford.
Also up for the award were the Saints Disabled Supporters’ Association, Pride in Football, Blues 4 All, Punjabi Rams and Boiler Room Ladies.
Fans For Diversity is a jointly funded-programme between Kick It Out and FSF, supporting fans throughout the country in creating a range of initiatives aimed at increasing the diversity of the match going fanbase, spreading the message of anti-discrimination, and ensuring clubs are more representative of the communities in which they are based.
Co-founder Humayun Islam collected the award on behalf of Shapla FC and Bangla Bantams and was presented the award by Roisin Wood, Director of Kick It Out.
After coming off-stage, Humayun was beaming with pride when asked to describe the achievement.
“I’m speechless really,” he said with a huge smile. “It just shows that if you work hard, if you work with the right people and create partnerships and then listen and ask for guidance, then you can do so much.
“We’re receiving an award alongside someone like Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool – it’s just unbelievable and shows that with hard work and dedication the sky is the limit.”
The Bangla Bantams and Shapla FC were formed to help the local South Asian Community in the Bradford area promote and increase sports participation – for both boys and girls – in the Bradford area.
Since forming they have formed relationships with Bradford City FC as well as the West Riding County FA.
“It has brought the community together and thanks to Kick It Out, the Football Supporters’ Federation and the fans themselves to make this happen,” explained Humayun, who also paid tribute to Anwar Uddin, the FSF’s Diversity and Campaigns Manager.
“Anwar has been amazing. He came up for a meeting and showed his dedication and that was key and meant I wanted to continue the work. He would then suggest ideas and he’d guide us as we went along.
“Next year we want to do even more and we’d like to grow the fanbase and make it as diverse as possible.”
Humayun also credited the other nominees for the fantastic work they’re doing with their respective clubs.
“We’re all winners really. We’re all winners in our own way. I think this award will continue next year and I think it will grow and grow and it’s a celebration of fans’ work.”
Click here to see a list of all the winners from the FSF awards.