Guest speakers included H.E Turkish Ambassador O.Koray Ertas, Former Professional Footballer Michael Chopra, Former Lioness Rachel Yankey and Interim Prime Minister of the Children’s Parliament Harry Acheampong
The Mesut Ozil Football for Peace (FfP) Bradford Centre attended the Football Association‘s (FA) Open Iftar event at Wembley Stadium, marking the 10th year of the Ramadan Tent Project. The home of English football provided the backdrop for an amazing evening of panels, guest appearances, and the breaking of fast after the call to prayer performed by an Imam pitchside.
Dal Darroch, FA Head of Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Programmes, hosted our FfP Mesut Ozil Peace Centre participants from Bradford, bringing together 60 youths, partners, and coaches to experience this special celebration in the Bobby Moore Suite. Close to 1000 attendees made this the biggest Open Iftar gathering at any UK stadium. The Interim Prime Minister of The Sir David Amess Children’s Parliament, Harry Acheampong, 11 years old, was also in attendance as a special guest of FfP.
The event included an FA Panel with guest speakers Michael Chopra (former player and FfP Technical Ambassador), Rachel Yankey (former Arsenal and England player), Anwar Uddin (former player and FA Diversity and Inclusion Manager), and Abu Nasir (FA National Game Board Member), talking about diversity in football. They touched on topics such as girls in football, their careers and the most recent announcement by the French Football Federation banning interruptions for Muslim players to break their fast. Mesut Ozil Centre participants also took to the stage, hosted by Michael Chopra, Technical Ambassador of the FfP Centre, to listen to Kishan Nahal (15), Xaavier J Caan (15), Maira Khan (9), and Muhammed Kadeem (9) speak about the opportunities provided by the FfP Centre on positive pathways in football, the FfP MVP Award which includes educational workshops, and action days to positively impact their local community in partnership with the University of Bradford. The FfP Bradford Centre is in partnership with FA, the University of Bradford, Sporting Equals and the Rangoonwala Foundation.
The Mesut Ozil Peace Centre kicked off in October 2021 as part of FfP’s Football Saves Lives Campaign launched by HRH The Prince of Wales, to support and educate young people from all backgrounds to get them life ready. Peace Centres are co-branded with professional players, clubs, and universities. They aim to support the local community in tackling local challenges and creating safe spaces for youth to develop and learn.
Dal Darroch, The FA’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Programmes, said:
“We were delighted to welcome over 1,000 people to our Open Iftar at Wembley Stadium. Ensuring our game is inclusive for all is a big priority for us and we’re deeply passionate about connecting local communities and faith groups with our national sport. A huge thank you to Football for Peace for visiting Wembley Stadium and bringing a large delegation from the Peace Centre in Bradford with them, which included many children who visited the home of English football for the first time – I’m sure the centre’s work will grow from strength to strength.”
Michael Chopra, Former Professional Footballer and Technical Ambassador of the FfP M10 Centre, said:
“I consider football to have a unique ability to reach far beyond ethnic, religious, or social differences and Football for Peace hopes to continue to make a lot of positive impact in Bradford through our Mesut Ozil Peace Centre with our youth. It was a real pleasure for me to attend the Open Iftar hosted by the FA and to speak on the FA Panel alongside fellow players about diversity in football.”
Kash Siddiqi, Former Footballer and President and Co-Founder of Football for Peace, said,
“We are grateful to The FA for inviting our Football for Peace Mesut Ozil Bradford Centre and hosting a panel of youth at the open iftar in Wembley. It was a fantastic experience for the young people and their parents from Bradford to be at home of football and be able to participate in such a meaningful evening, it was especially great to see so many diverse communities represented.”