As part of South Asian Heritage Month we spoke to Khalsa Football Academy who are celebrating their 35th Anniversary
The FA is committed to using its influence across English football to positively impact a greater range of communities as part of its A Game For All strategy, which aims to increase participation from underrepresented groups in the game.
A recently published update on Asian inclusion, Bringing Opportunities to Communities, shows there has been encouraging progress in increasing the representation of Asian communities across English football, both on and off the pitch.
With greater focus being given to this area in recent years to help redress this imbalance, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there already exists a long and proud history of South Asian involvement in football across the country and indeed our county.
Letchworth based Khalsa Football Academy is one such example. Founded in 1988 the club combines on the pitch activity with community engagement aimed at tackling issues such as anti-social behaviour, racism, inequality, and knife and drug crime.
During the pandemic they channelled their efforts into supporting vulnerable members of the community with food hubs for local families. This ability to use football to deliver a positive social impact saw them win a Grassroots Football Award in 2021.
Recently Khalsa kicked off a year long series of events to celebrate its 35th Anniversary during which it aims to further raise awareness of its work and create more opportunities to support those in need in the local community.
The FA’s inclusion strategy identifies women and girls within Asian communities as one of the largest underrepresented groups in football, so it was fitting that the launch event was centred around female role models.
This included former Khalsa Futsal Academy student Lucindha Lawson, an England International Deaf Futsal player who helped England win the European Championships, alongside team-mate Emma Brown who was also in attendence.
The event also included displays from Sporting Equals 'South Asian Women In Football' Exhibit which had previously been on display at Wembley and will be on show at venues across the country in the coming months.
Khalsa is led by Bal Singh, who is also a member of Hertfordshire FA’s Inclusion Advisory Group where he supports our efforts to ensure the local game offers opportunities for all. Speaking at the Khalsa 35th Anniversary launch event, Bal said:
“I believe joined up thinking is so important creating positive pathways in the community and this has been at the heart of our efforts over the last 35 years.
Thanks to the funding by Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, Khalsa Futsal Academy will be celebrating this special anniversary with a series of initiatives aimed at bringing different community groups together using the power of Football and Futsal.
If anyone would like to be involved with these events and supporting us in reaching our goal to help more local people, please do get in touch”.