Piara Powar, executive director of European football’s anti-racism group, has lent his support to this weekend’s Game for Equality.
Chelsea Football Club have joined forces with Kick It Out, Football v Homophobia, the Football Association and the Premier League to highlight the work being done by so many organisations to promote equality within the sport, and throughout communities.
And the executive director of FARE believes the initiative along with other work being carried out by the club is crucial in the on-going battle for equality.
‘The messages of unity that clubs send out, the way they act, and the way in which they work with local communities are the examples that allows football to show that it can be a force for societal change,’ said Powar (pictured above).
‘It’s great to see Chelsea holding days like this and great to see the work that they are engaged in through the Chelsea Foundation and initiatives such as Asian Star. I wish them well, they have the endorsement of the Fare network.’
Meanwhile, Zesh Rehman (pictured below), the first British Asian to play in the Premier League, has also backed the initiative.
The Chelsea Foundation has close links to the Pakistan international through the Zesh Rehman Foundation, with two participants from the unique Sidelined-2-Sidelines initiative now working within the club’s community programmes.
The two Foundations also work closely on Chelsea’s Asian Star, which will return for its sixth year in May, with coaches from the ZRF playing a key role on the day.
And Rehman, who currently plies his trade with Malaysian Super League side Pahang FC, having previously played for Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Bradford, believes the good work being done by the club and other organisations is essential.
‘The Game for Equality is a fantastic idea and something I wholeheartedly support,’ he said.
‘Chelsea have been supporters of my own foundation for some time and we continue to enjoy a good relationship, which is only going to improve with time.
‘The game versus Everton is a great way to bring some of the major organisations together to show we are all united in the fight against discrimination.
‘No discrimination is more important than another and it is important the collective we continue to fight for equality on all fronts.’
The Zesh Rehman Foundation was formed in May 2010 and uses football as a tool for social change, offering pathways into the game in marginalised communities and neighbourhoods.
The charity strives to change perceptions and myths surrounding British Asians in football by providing more opportunities in disadvantaged communities – combating cultural and religious barriers associated with communities which have a high number of South Asians.
‘Like other foundations and organisations working for equality we understand the importance of days like Saturday,’ added Rehman.
‘Spreading the word about equality is not easy, but Chelsea have given everyone the opportunity to do so on a global scale.
‘It will be a day to remember and a day which I’m sure will help all the organisations involved continue with the good and important work they are doing on a daily basis.’