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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Pioneering business luminary Jas Singh Athwal DL ushers in a new era for Huddersfield Giants as the first South Asian addition to the Board

In a groundbreaking move, Huddersfield Giants have significantly bolstered their board of directors with the addition of the esteemed businessman, Jas Singh Athwal DL. At 61 years old, Athwal brings a wealth of experience from both the Rugby League arena and the vibrant business community of West Yorkshire. Currently serving as a Deputy Lieutenant, he has been at the helm of the Huddersfield Giants Community Trust for the past two years, showcasing his commitment to both the club and the wider community.

Stepping into a new role on the main board, Athwal’s appointment holds historical significance as he becomes the first board member with an Asian background. Chairman Keith Hellawell expressed the strategic thinking behind the selection, emphasising the need to broaden the club’s business sector interactions, and Athwal’s extensive West Yorkshire contacts bring a fresh perspective to the Giants.

Commenting on the addition Chairman Keith Hellawell said: “In looking for new board members we are conscious that one of the factors is that we need to widen our pool of interactions in the business sector in particular and Jaz has a depth of contacts in West Yorkshire who will be new to the club and in many instances the sport of Rugby league.

“In addition, he becomes the first board member of this club with an Asian background so in that sense is quite a historic appointment for us and the wider game. His passion for Rugby League is well known and he’s done a sterling job with the trust-based at the Zone in recent years, so the timing just felt right for us all with the RFL heavily focused on governance to meet Sport England’s best practice guidance to have him come on board with the club itself.”

Jas Singh Athwal DL expressed his honour at joining the club’s main board, especially in anticipation of the upcoming Betfred Super League in 2024. With over 50 years of involvement in the Rugby League as a player and supporter, Athwal brings a unique perspective to the role of non-executive director. He highlighted the challenges facing Rugby League in the current landscape, emphasising the importance of strengthening links with the local community and businesses.

Jas Singh Athwal DL said: “It’s a great honour to join the club’s main board ahead of what am sure will be a superb Betfred Super League in 2024.

“The landscape of Rugby League in general is a tricky one with reduced broadcast incomes so it’s become even more important that clubs strengthen links with their local community and businesses. I hope to be able to bring my energy and enthusiasm to the role of non-executive director having been in the sport for over 50 years now as a player and supporter and now widening our base, particularly in the areas where the club, like many in rugby league are underrepresented, and most importantly to enjoy the games and the various interactions that we all have as Giants Supporters.

“It’s been my great pleasure over the last few years to get to know the owner Ken Davy well and I hope to be able to play my part in helping him achieve his dreams for the club.”

Beyond his contributions to Huddersfield Giants, Jas Singh Athwal DL is actively involved in various community and charitable organisations. As Chairman of the Kala Sangam South Asian Arts organisation, a trustee of the Children’s Air Ambulance, and an honorary member of the All-Parliamentary Rugby League Group, Athwal’s commitment extends far beyond the rugby field. Fluent in English, Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu, he also serves as a Non-Exec Director of Enable 2 (CIC) Translation Company.

The appointment of Jas Singh Athwal DL is not only a strategic move for Huddersfield Giants but also a testament to the club’s commitment to diversity and community engagement, setting the stage for an exciting and transformative chapter in its history.

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