Sikh Football Academy host directed by Valerie Kaur
A film that has received critical acclaim throughout the United States gets its UK premiere at the new Wembley Stadium, August 24. Hosted by the Khalsa Football Academy (KFA), an organisation that began in Letchworth in 1988, it is the latest in a series of innovative projects that the KFA have been involved with.
The film, Divided We Fall by Valarie Kaur, explores issues of racial tension and violence in a post-9/11 world and will be followed by a series of workshops, led by Valarie and KFA’s founding Director, Bal Singh, that aim to increase community understanding of race and religion.
It is the sort of project that Bal has been involved with since the beginnings of the Khalsa football club in Letchworth over 20 years ago. From the very start, one of Bal’s intentions was to produce greater understanding between players of different nationalities, race, colour and creed. Still based in Letchworth as player-manager of Sporting KFA, Bal explains a bit more about his work:
“We began as a small football club with a big aim – bring more Asian players in to grassroots football. Since those early days we have come a long way, and we have been involved in a whole range of projects that are trying to promote racial understanding throughout the whole community. This award-winning film is an example of communicating with people about racial issues and we were delighted to be involved in bringing it to the UK through our ‘Striving For Unity’ project.”
Bal Singh is a UEFA-qualified coach, one of a small number of Asians in the UK who has reached this standard. Having worked with and met some of the biggest names in world football in the last 20 years – Patrick Kluivert, Franco Baresi, Carlos Alberto to name but three – hopefully Bal can be an inspiration to emerging local talent, whatever their race or religious background.