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Sunday, June 26, 2022

“We want to bring diversity and culture into Football from a South Asian and Bengali background”

Humayun Islam, the chief executive of Amar England is keen on bringing more fans and viewers to football leading up to the Men’s World Cup hosted in Qatar this winter by introducing a variety of events by Amar England.

You might be wondering what ‘Amar’ means? Amar means ‘My’ in Bengali; and it’s the focal point in the campaign to allow South Asian individuals to know England is a place they can be proud of, hence the name ‘Amar England’.

IMG: Football Supporters Association – Humayan Islam. Co-founder of Amar England

In the beginning, Chief Executive of BEAP, Humayun would run football groups and events throughout Bradford known as Bangla Bantam. He came to realise a lot of people within his community were into football and particularly those fans from the same ethnic background of himself from Bangladesh.

Red Desh was one of the support groups created to allow Bengali Liverpool fans to meet one and other and discuss their desire of football.

With the rise of the support group of Red Desh and Bangla Bantams for the football teams, Humayun and Imrul Gazi the now south region coordinator decided in creating a group for Bengali’s and South Asians across the UK to support not only their favourite clubs but the International Men’s Football team.

Amar England was introduced to not only share the love for football but break a lot of misconceptions around South Asians being fans.

Humayun expresses, “We want to bring our own identity and culture when we go watch football games because this is what England represents. We want to be proud to support our home nation England”.

Imrul Gazi. One of the founders of Amar England

Imrul Gazi, the coordinator within the south and co-found explains, “It’s important to have groups like this because we need to show diversity. When I was growing up, our parents and families didn’t know much about football, and when I lived back in Bradford, I remember my parents would tell me to be home before the kickoff happened at Bradford stadium because we would face a lot of racism and comments from football fans.

“Now, things have changed, and we now know we’re as much included in this country as everyone else. We understand football and it’s become more diverse than before and it’s a proud moment”.

Anwar Uddin, the former West Ham defender from Bangladesh heritage since retiring has paved the way for a lot of young and upcoming talent to get into football and is also the diversity and campaigns manager at the football supporters association.

IMG: Anwar Uddin – Former West Ham United defender

Anwar leads the campaign called Fans for diversity which is run in a partnership with Kick it Out who support and fund Amar England.

Amar explains how growing up and not only being South Asian, but a Bengali, was a surreal feeling especially when playing for the team. He expresses, “I was just amazed over the fact how nobody even looked like me, not even on the pitch I mean in the crowds. I’m proud now that things have changed, and I believe Amar England is one of those groups which will showcase our culture and diversity”.

Amar England is set to begin a series of events, which begins with, Amar England vs Amar Wales. A friendly game between two of the support groups which go head-to-head in a friendly game of football at the International Sports Canvas in Wales on Jan 30, 2022.

IMG: Humayan Islam – Members from across the UK of Amar England

The next event which is planned after Ramadan is the Wembley Tour with the support groups from England and Wales to come along and have another friendly game at a local stadium in May or June.

The final event scheduled for the time being is the home nations game on July 31, 2022, which will include match fixtures between Amar England, Amar Scotland and Amar Wales.

These are just a couple of the events taking place which will lead up to the Men’s World Cup in November. Amar England will be flying out to watch the England’s Men Football team and hopefully fans from Amar England will be attending to see their nation play and hopefully bring back the World Cup after years!

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