Khalsa build bridges
The Khalsa Youth Football Academy project based in Letchworth Garden City has visited Spain in an effort to tackle racism. Racist chants marred the most recent England versus Spain international match in Spain. As a direct result of this racist behaviour
The Khalsa Youth Football Academy project based in Letchworth Garden City has visited Spain in an effort to tackle racism.
Racist chants marred the most recent England versus Spain international match in Spain.
As a direct result of this racist behaviour by Spanish fans, Khalsa went to the country to attempt to build bridges just before the World Cup.
The Spain trip also included coaching with the Valencia staff and a world club challenge match.
Project director Bal Singh said: "It was essential that a group of players representing England went back to Spain and help educate and address the importance of working together to combat racism.
"The Khalsa Academy were playing against five ex-Spanish professionals and two international players including the former Real Madrid and Spanish 1982 and 1986 World Cup legend Miguel Tendilio.
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"Other players included Poco Gusrdsa, Emilo Fenell, Enric Cuxart and Luis Poscual and current Valencia staff Arturo Ruiz, Miguel Grau and Dani Saez."
The Khalsa Academy had printed a message on the front of their shirts Luchando Unidos Contra el Racismo.
This was translated and printed in English on the back of the shirts Striving For Unity. The shirts also included the Spanish and English flags.
The trip also generated a huge amount of Spanish media attention and featured in the national press as well as on Spanish television.
The Khalsa squad was Gurmeet Bains, Inderjeet Aujla, Jasdeep Singh, Gurdeep Kandola, Baljit Bhiria, Bal Singh, Rikkinder Flora, Manjit Singh, Charnjeet Singh, Mampreet Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Pav Singh and Mampreet Dosanjh.
Khalsa's One Team One Goal - Striving For Unity project was launched in February 2005.
The aims in the next five years are to curb racism in the community.
Bal Singh said: "We can try to stop racism with other methods but a lot of people just love their football and it is an excellent tool bringing different community groups together.
"In the last couple of years there has been a significant increase in racism, particularly towards refugees and asylum seekers.
"This increase of intolerance towards people from different countries, religions and cultures is a worrying development and one all anti-racist organisations should get together and address.
"Football continues to be the game of the people and remains to be the number one game in the world and this project is to harness the high profile of football to combat racism."
Due to the success of the Spain trip, there are now plans to launch regular events in the future with Juventus and Barcelona.
* Khalsa are also involved in a scholarship scheme for school leavers.
It is aimed at 16 to 19-year-olds and part-time and full-time courses are available.
The Khalsa and Hitchin Town Football Club scholarship is in partnership with North Hertfordshire College and students will benefit by gaining an academic qualification.
Students will also learn Futebol de Salao skills with the North Herts Brazilian Soccer School run by the Khalsa Youth Academy.
To put your name down for the open day trials and presentation, email details including your name, date of birth and the position you currently play to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send your CV to: Khalsa Academy Office, 8 Business Centre, West Avenue One, Letchworth, Herts, SG6 2HB.
* Volunteers wishing to join the Khalsa Academy project and gain a FA coaching qualification should email contact details to email@example.com
For further information please visit www.teambal.com
Any interested parties in sponsoring the Khalsa Academy project please call Bal Singh on 07813 179797.
* Khalsa's new Brazilian Soccer School starts on Monday, May 29.
It is at the Hitchin Boys' School Sports Centre from 6.30-7.30pm and is only £1 per session.
Youngsters in age groups under-11s and under-12s can learn to play Futebol de Salao. To book your place, please call Bal Singh on the number above.