“I’m passionate about helping football to be a game where people of all backgrounds feel welcome and include,” says Sanjay Bhandari
Last Updated: 12/09/19 2:47pm
Equality expert and Manchester United fan Sanjay Bhandari has been confirmed as the new chair of football’s anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out.
Bhandari – who worked for 15 years as a lawyer before moving into leadership and advisory roles – succeeds Lord Ouseley, who founded the organisation back in 1993.
“I am absolutely delighted to join the Board of Kick It Out as its Chair,” said Bhandari.
“I’ve been a football fan all of my life and a vocal advocate for inclusion. I am passionate about helping football to be a game where people of all backgrounds feel welcome and included from the terraces to the pitch, to the boardroom.
“I feel honoured to have the opportunity to build on the team’s great work over many years, and look forward to setting out my vision for equality in football in the months ahead.”
On their new appointment, Kick It Out said: “An active and recognised leader of equality, diversity and inclusion practice, Sanjay has been a member of the Premier League’s Equality Standard Independent Panel for four years.
“He is part of the Government-sponsored Parker review into the ethnic diversity of UK boards.
“For three consecutive years from 2017, he was named as one of Financial Times’ EMpower 100 ethnic minority leaders and in 2016, as one of the top 100 most influential BAME people in business in the inaugural Upstanding Executive Power List.
“Sanjay is excited to take on the role and is ready to build and expand on the hugely important work Kick It Out has been doing to campaign for equality in football for more than 25 years.”
Bhandari’s appointment comes following a series of incidents of racist abuse directed towards Premier League and EFL players at the start of this season.
Tammy Abraham, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Mohamed Salah are among those who have been targeted so far during the 2019/20 campaign.
Kick It Out recently met with Twitter for the first time, with the majority of the abusive incidents having occurred on the social media site.
The organisation also urged the Football Association and clubs to act after a spate of cases marred the opening weekend of the EFL season.