Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2021

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Sanjay Bhandari


SANJAY BHANDARI, as chairman of anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out, has emerged as a leading voice in English football, actively playing his part to promote equality and inclusion in the beautiful game.

When he took the reins of the organisation in late 2019, replacing the founder Lord Herman Ouseley, he became only the second chair in the charity’s 27-year history.

Bhandari has made an impressive start to his tenure, launching novel initiatives and bringing in new partnerships, including a £3 million investment package from Sky, as the broadcaster onboarded as Kick It Out’s first new strategic partner as part of its new vision to be a galvanising hub for inclusive change in football.

The charity has also joined forces with Facebook to launch its ‘Take A Stand’ campaign to help fans report discrimination. The social media giant has unveiled a new automated messenger service, enabling people to report match-day discrimination directly to Kick It Out, alongside a new education programme targeted directly at fans of all ages using WhatsApp.

Bhandari has personal reasons to launch an initiative of this kind, as racist taunts have been part and parcel of everyday life for him growing up in 1970s Bilston, Wolverhampton.

In his inaugural speech at Kick It Out, he recalled his first-hand experiences of routine racial abuses in the game in the mid-1990s, adding that he still experiences this, albeit less frequently. In 2015, he had to face abuse when he,

who has been a Manchester United season ticket holder for more than 30 years, was attending a game with his nephew. This is something that made him resolve to make the reporting of incidents of abuse a priority when he joined Kick It Out.

“When I experienced that kind of racism, especially with my nephew, it made me angry but

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