Inclusion Advisory Group
The Inclusion Advisory Group (IAG) acts as the check and balance to Leicestershire & Rutland County FA's (LRCFA) work, trying to encourage embedding diversity and inclusion across all we do. The IAG is a strategic advisory group, it advises The County FA Board and Executive about how it could do things slightly differently in order to make football inclusive and For All. The IAG reports into main LRCFA Board. Members will help shape the organisation’s direction of travel to ensure children, young people and adults of all backgrounds and communities can access high quality opportunities. The Inclusion Advisory Group will support our organisation in delivering our Equality Action Plan and support projects across the organisation in helping to continue to achieve the Equality Standards for Sport.
Chair of the Inclusion Advisory Group
Professor Sharma is recognised as a Czar for diversity and inclusion nationally, in Europe and Internationally. He has been championing equality, diversity and inclusion issues for over 40 years where he has gained a reputation for innovation, excellence and success as well as a proven track record of achieving change in private, public and voluntary sector organisations. These organisations include the NHS, Novartis, Ford Europe, Littlewoods, BBC and the Commission for Racial Equality.
Having operated at all levels within organisations, Sharma has extensive experience at board level in developing strategy in a National, European and Global context as well as working with key stakeholders within organisations (senior leadership, line managers, trade unions, HR, customers, suppliers, employees, external stakeholders and shareholders) to develop models of excellence and best practice around Diversity and Inclusion linked to organisational vision and values.
Awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees and Honorary Professorships from 6 Universities including De Montfort University and University of Leicester, in recognition of his successful and innovative work. Sharma has also served as the High Sheriff of Leicestershire 2016-17, Alderman for the City of Leicester and is currently serving as a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire.
Dr Ismini Vasileiou
Sam Turner has been active as a coach and volunteer in disability football from the age of 15 years. He has spent his entire working career in disability football having been involved with Derby County Community Trust, Leicestershire and Rutland CFA, The FA, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association and now the International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football. In addition; Sam works as a university lecturer in the area of inclusive sport and physical activity and as a tutor for national Mencap and various other sports organisations. Locally, he is a trustee for Mencap in Melton Mowbray and sits on the Independent Advisory Panel for the Defence Animal Training Regiment of the Ministry of Defense.
Sam is passionate about ensuring that every person with a disability is included and has a way to be involved in football, choosing how they want to
Tej is father of two boys who are 6 & 9 years old. He is a Level 2 qualified FA coach and coach two teams - Under 7 and Under 10 grassroots level at GNG Football Club.Tej is Head of Cyber Security at Arden&GEM which is a NHS organisation supporting Trusts, CCG's GP practices in many areas of the UK. Tej has huge passion for grassroots football and ensuring that children get opportunities to play in any capacity they feel they want to.
Tommy has a background in many sports as however, football has been the one constant in his life from having a season ticket at Villa Park to being a Football Development Officer at De Montfort University. He has been lucky enough to work all over the world across a variety of different sports, including football, and have developed a passion for learning. Outside of work, he is a diversity representative on the BUCS (British University and Colleges Sport) Inclusion Board and is currently a senior non-executive for the London FA, working with them on recruitment for their new board to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion is taken into account. He is on the board for UK Ultimate as their University Coordinator and is now heading up their EDI committee in a co-chair capacity.
Working with nationwide partners in sport, Ken runs his own training company, helping young people into work and self-employment. Since 2012, the Kick Off in Business programme has helped over 10000 people in custody and across the community.
Ken has been involved in local sport for almost 50 years. He is pioneering the creation of a local sports alliance comprising over 20 clubs to increase participation, engagement and profile in his community. Ken is a member of the North West Leicestershire Club Engagement Group to broaden inclusion in the district and is the Disability Activator for both Ashby Sport and Ashby United Community Football Club.
Minesh has spent 16 years in Public Services serving as a front-line Police Officer within Leicestershire Police and now works as an Account Manager. He is also a School Governor at Hallam Fields Primary School. Minesh has been a Football Referee for 24 years within Leicestershire & Rutland. He is an FA Tutor and tutors within two disciplines, Refereeing and Safeguarding. Minesh sits as a National Wing Member for FA Judicial services and hears Anti-Discrimination serious cases. Minesh has assisted the Leicestershire & Rutland County FA in reaching their Referee BAME targets with project related activity focusing on Referee Recruitment & Retention and is also an Independent member for Discipline cases at County level.
Yaasir is a student at Loughborough University. He is a coach, scout and referee with the Leicester and Rutland CFA. Yaasir believes sport can be a powerful tool for changing lives and benefiting communities.
Amos is a qualified teacher currently working Further Education as lecturer. He is also a UEFA B qualified coach with over 10 years of experience working as a coach as both grassroots, university and elite level. As an experienced scout, Amos believes Leicestershire is a hotbed of talent and with the right education for parents and coaches we shall start seeing more top-quality players produced from our county.
Amos is the founder of a Leicester based “LFE Academy” a football club for 15+ which supports further development of missed talent, late developers and players released by professional clubs. The club’s objective is to engage young people and facilitate their development through good coaching, mentoring and any available support.
Through providing support to both players and coaches, Amos has built a good relationship over the years with most clubs within Leicester which we believe is something the IAG can benefit from.
Amos believes the Inclusion Advisory Group will be a key driver for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for the beautiful game in Leicestershire.
Jos has acquired 34 years’ experience in Local Government, specifying in leisure provision management across a number of public facilities. He has also been involved in grassroots football for 33 years as a player, coach with a UEFA B qualification and director of football. Jos is currently a panel member for the L&RCFA Independent Disciplinary Panel.
Helena RussoHelena is a Loughborough University alumni with a career in sports development and equality, diversity and inclusion. She has worked for England Netball and Badminton England over the last 4 years, and is currently the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at British Canoeing. Across these roles, she has experience of working with sports clubs and building inclusive resources. Helena has a passion for ensuring that sport is accessible and open to as many as possible, and she hopes to bring her experience from her work into the Inclusion Advisory Group to support the County FA's goals and aims.
Helena is also a netball player and coach, is a supporter of Loughborough Lightning, and likes to get involved in most things sport!
Gurdeep is an Economics graduate from the University of Leicester. He is also UEFA B qualified, currently coaching at Leicester City Football Club, and a member of the FA Club Placement Programme which is part of the FA Coach Inclusion and Diversity plan. He has previously been Head of Football at De Montfort University and an FA Coach Mentor. Also, a current player at GNG Oadby Town in the UCL Premier Division.
Gurdeep believes the Leicestershire and Rutland Inclusion Advisory Group can support in making the game safer and inclusive for all.