Sky and Sporting Equals celebrate first-ever timeline and display capturing history of South Asian heritage female players in modern English game | Football News

First timeline celebrating the history of South Asian players in English women’s football to be presented at the Sporting Equals Race Equality event at Chelsea FC; Derby’s Kira Rai, Blackburn’s Millie Chandarana, Coventry United’s Simran Jhamat and West Brom’s Mariam Mahmood are all included

From Sky sports news

12:24, UK, Thursday 16 March 2023

Sky Sports has celebrated the anniversary of its partnership with Sporting Equals by creating a unique timeline documenting the modern history of South Asian women players in English football.

The timeline charts the development of women’s football in the Women’s Super League era and features 20 current and former players from South Asian backgrounds who have made a mark on football in various leagues across the UK.

Chelsea striker Sam Kerr, Manchester United and Wales goalkeeper Safia Middleton-Patel (on loan to Coventry United) and ex-West Ham and Watford winger Rosie Kmita are among the players whose achievements are celebrated in the timeline.

Sam Kerr, who has an Indian grandmother, was named Barclays FA Women’s Super League Player of the Season last season

The timeline was curated by Sky Sports Journalist and FA Level 2 Scout Dev Trehan, and is part of a wider Sporting Equals exhibition which also features four role models from the UK’s South Asian community who are currently involved in women’s football.

Following a successful pilot, the exhibition will be officially unveiled on tour on March 23 at the Race Equality: State of the Sector event at Stamford Bridge.

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The four players featured are FA Women’s Championship footballers Millie Chandarana (Blackburn Rovers), Simran Jhamat (Coventry United), FA Women’s National League players Kira Rai (Derby County) and Mariam Mahmood (West Bromwich Albion).

Sky Sports’ Dev Trehan said: “Creating a timeline and highlighting these incredible female role models is a tremendous step forward for women’s football and South Asian communities.

More of South Asians in soccer

“I am enormously grateful to the players and their families, their clubs and coaches, and the people of football and the wider community, including Sky and Sporting Equals, for the support that is bringing this project to fruition.

“Documenting the journey of South Asian players in modern English football has both historical and cultural significance and represents a real legacy for present and future generations.”

Said West Bromwich Albion forward Mariam Mahmood: “It is an honor to appear in the timeline and have my story presented in this way.

“Education and bridging the knowledge gaps about South Asians in football remain an important issue. Our stories matter and I hope this creates positive awareness and encourages more children – especially girls from South Asian backgrounds – to take up football and enjoy playing football. “

Brentford board member Preeti Shetty told Sky Sports News she hopes her appointment gives South Asian women hope they can be whatever they want.

The Lionesses captured the hearts and minds of the nation when they won the Women’s Euros last summer, but their triumph reignited the debate over diversity at the elite end of the game after England fielded an all-white starting XI for every game of the tournament.

Current and former players Eni Aluko, Lianne Sanderson and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk have all spoken Sky sports news about the lack of ethnic diversity, with Chelsea manager Emma Hayes recently adding that she thinks women’s football is “quite middle-class”.

Sheffield United’s Courtney Sweetman-Kirk has called for urgent action to address the lack of diversity in women’s football.

According to the PFA (2022), only 9.7 percent of women footballers at the elite level of women’s football are from diverse ethnic backgrounds. British South Asians are the largest ethnic minority in the country, but only 0.6 percent of players in the Women’s Super League are from the community, despite the worldwide success of the 2002 hit film ‘Do it like Beckham’, based on an aspiring British footballer with a South Asian background.

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Sky last year partnered with Sporting Equals, a national charity for equality in sports competitions, in a shared desire to help fight under-representation by tackling some of the barriers to the participation and advancement of British South Asian football talent, especially in women’s football.

Blackburn Rovers midfielder Millie Chandarana said: “This is a very important project that documents progress and helps change the narrative. We can now see all the great things these girls have achieved and continue to achieve and it’s great to be a small part of it.

“I hope it inspires many more to show that a career in football is possible for women from the South Asian community.”

Derby County women’s winger Kira Rai says beating the odds of making it in football makes the journey even sweeter.

Derby County winger Kira Rai said: “To be part of the history of English women’s football alongside some fabulous South Asian women fills me, my family and my football club with immense pride.

“We know that women’s football is not as diverse as it should be and I want to do my part to change that. I hope this inspires the next generation and gives talented girls who look like me the belief that they can do the game too.”

Arun Kang, Managing Director of Sporting Equals, says supporting elite potential South Asian women footballers to succeed will inspire the next generation of players from the community.

Arun Kang OBE, CEO of Sporting Equals said: “This exhibition serves as an inspiration and shows that women with South Asian roots have a place in football and can achieve anything. There has been great progress in women’s football, but this community is neglected.

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“We are proud to be working with Sky Sports to grow national football and are delighted to present this unique showcase of South Asian women footballers at our Race Equality event at Chelsea Football Club.”

Bristol City women’s forward Simran Jhamat is a “flag bearer” for British South Asians who dream of making it into the game, says Charlton manager Riteesh Mishra.

Coventry United attacker Simran Jhamat said: “It is amazing to be involved in this legacy project. Seeing is believing – and I hope that inspires children and parents alike.

“We all want to see more South Asian players so we can confidently say that it doesn’t matter what race or religion you are and that football is for everyone. Nothing comes easy in this industry and for all players, Featured have worked tirelessly to get where they are.”

Manisha Tailor MBE says more needs to be done to improve diversity in elite girls’ and women’s football.

Muslimah Sports Association (MSA) Chairman and FA National Game Board member Yashmin Harun said: “It is very important to understand the history of South Asian women players in football and to reflect on their journeys to get us where we want to be in order to make elite women’s football more diverse and representative of the nation.

“These inspiring women are brilliant role models, changing the way we look at the game and paving the way for the development of the next generation. They turn dreamers into believers and it’s important to put them in the spotlight and celebrate the achievements.”

British South Asians in Football

For more stories, features and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on and the South Asians in the Game blog, and keep up to date with Sky Sports News And our Sky Sports digital platforms.

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