Kick It Out are delighted to announce that equality expert and avid football fan Sanjay Bhandari has been appointed as the organisation's new Chair, succeeding Kick It Out founder, Lord Herman Ouseley, who led the challenge on racism and discrimination in football for 25 years.
An active and recognised leader of equality, diversity and inclusion practice, Sanjay has been a member of the Premier League’s Equality Standard Independent Panel for four years and is part of the Government-sponsored Parker review into the ethnic diversity of UK boards.
Sanjay has also enjoyed a 29-year career in professional services, spending 15 years as a lawyer specialising in fraud and white collar crime at a leading international law firm. He then held a number of leadership roles at KPMG and EY, where he was a Partner for 12 years, before taking up a portfolio career as an independent board member, adviser and charity trustee.
For three consecutive years from 2017, he was named as one of Financial Times’ EMpower 100 ethnic minority leaders and in 2016, as one of the top 100 most influential BAME people in business in the inaugural Upstanding Executive Power List.
Sanjay is excited to take on the role and is ready to build and expand on the hugely important work Kick It Out has been doing to campaign for equality in football for more than 25 years.
“I am absolutely delighted to join the Board of Kick It Out as its Chair,” he said. “I have been a football fan all of my life and a vocal advocate for inclusion. I am passionate about helping football to be a game where people of all backgrounds feel welcome and included from the terraces to the pitch, to the boardroom.
“I feel honoured to have the opportunity to build on the team’s great work over many years, and look forward to setting out my vision for equality in football in the months ahead.”
Roisin Wood, Kick It Out’s Chief Executive Officer, believes Sanjay will provide excellent leadership for the organisation and looks forward to working with him to ensure that football is a place where everyone, regardless of their background, is welcome in the game.
“Sanjay’s passion for equality, together with his governance experience and love for football stands him out as the ideal person to continue to take Kick It Out forward.
“As a lifelong football fan, he understands the power of football to effect change and influence society – and is fully committed to tackling all forms of discrimination, from grassroots all the way through to the professional level. Football still has a long way to go but working together, under Sanjay’s leadership, I believe we are ready to take on any challenge.”
Kick It Out’s board of trustees echoed Roisin’s words and emphasised how impressed they were with Sanjay’s application.
“We’re delighted with Sanjay’s appointment and believe his expertise in equality and governance will be a welcome addition to the board of trustees.
“The recruitment process was thorough and robust, with a number of strong candidates making their case for the role, but Sanjay’s passion and vision for Kick It Out made him the perfect fit. We look forward to the future under his leadership.”