West Ham academy graduate Anwar Uddin to become first British South Asian ex-player to join FA Council

Fans for Diversity chief Anwar Uddin to become first British South Asian ex-player in FA Council history; the 39-year-old is Aldershot assistant boss and is the first British-Bangladeshi to play professionally in England; news comes three days after the start of South Asian Heritage Month

Anwar Uddin in action for Barnet
Image: Anwar Uddin spent over a a decade as a professional footballer

Anwar Uddin will become the first British South Asian ex-player in the history of the FA Council, Sky Sports News understands.

The Football Association advertised seven FA Council roles last month, with trailblazing ex-footballer Uddin set to become one of the Council's new members following the completion of an interview process. The unexpected development will provide a huge boost to fans from South Asian backgrounds, three days into South Asian Heritage Month.

East Londoner Uddin, whose father hails from Sylhet in Bangladesh, will bring a wealth of on and off-field experience to the Council, having come through the ranks at West Ham and captained the club at U18 level during their famous FA Youth Cup-winning campaign in 1999.

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As South Asian Heritage Month begins, Derby County Women's star Kira Rai says she feels blessed to have the support of official club fans group the Punjabi Rams who she describes as 'her community within her club'

The 39-year-old went on to play for Bristol Rovers, becoming the first British-Bangladeshi to play professionally in English football, before joining Dagenham & Redbridge in 2004 where he made more than 200 appearances across six seasons.

Uddin became the first British South Asian to captain a league side during his time with Dagenham & Redbridge, and also became the first British South Asian to lift a trophy under the arch at Wembley Stadium when the Daggers clinched promotion to League One with a 3-2 win over Rotherham in the 2010 League Two Play-Off final.

The former centre-back reunited with former boss John Still at Barnet that summer, before stepping up to become interim assistant manager to Giuliano Grazioli when Still left, making him the first league coach from Britain's South Asian community.

 Mark Arber (left) lifts the playoff trophy with Dagenham and Redbridge team-mates Anwar Uddin (centre) and goalkeeper Tony Roberts (far right)
Image: Anwar Uddin lifts the League One Play-Off trophy at Wembley

Uddin had spells at non-League Sutton United and Eastbourne Borough, and managed non-League sides Sporting Bengal United and Ware after hanging up his boots. Assistant manager to Danny Searle at Conference side Aldershot, Uddin is the most senior British South Asian coach currently employed in English football.

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He combines football commitments with his role as campaign manager of the Football Supporters' Association's Fans for Diversity campaign, promoting diversity and inclusion football. Uddin has helped create more than 150 diverse supporters' groups across the country, including more than 50 for LGBT+ fans and allies.

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We take a look at British South Asians in the Beautiful Game

Former defender Uddin has also worked extensively with the Show Racism the Red Card charity, Kick It Out and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA).

At the beginning of last month, the FA nominated Debbie Hewitt as the new chair of English football's governing body.

Hewitt, who Sky Sports News reported in April had agreed to take the role in principle, is set to become the first woman to lead the organisation in its 157-year history after receiving a unanimous nomination from the FA board. She begins the new role in January 2022.

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