Charlton are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Michael Seeraj as the club’s Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).
Michael has a long history of working in EDI, and is the current Chair of the EFL London and South East Club EDI Leads.
In a joint venture with Charlton Athletic Community Trust, Michael will continue the club’s work on EDI both internally and on a matchday.
Michael is currently the Head of EDI at CACT and has played a key role in the club’s anti-discrimination activity in recent years including the annual Red, White and Black anti-racism matchday and the annual Charlton v Homophobia tournament. He also helped to establish the first LGBTQ+ football team to be formally affiliated to a professional football club trust in the UK.
Speaking of the appointment Michael said: “Charlton has a great heritage and a long, impressive history of leading the way on equality, diversity and inclusion. You can look back to the pioneering, fan-led, anti-racism work done in the 1990s with the CARE partnership and the local authority, through to some of the recent work led by the club’s LGBTQ+ supporters group, the Proud Valiants. This includes the ground-breaking Charlton v Homophobia tournament that promotes a strong message of inclusion.
“The club continue to lead the way on equality, diversity and inclusion to this day and I’m excited and privileged to have the opportunity to drive this forward and build on the core structure that already exists at Charlton.”
As part of his remit a supporters’ EDI network will be created to look at issues of equality, diversity and inclusion relating to the fanbase. Any fans interested in being part of the group should email EDI@cafc.co.uk.
Charlton Manager Lee Bowyer said: “As recent events in the footballing world have shown there is still a lot of work to be done in the sport, so I’m pleased the club are continuing to look at ways to improve equality, diversity and inclusion.”
As part of Charlton’s EDI activity, the club hosted the Football Supporters Federation’s Fans For Diversity Guidance Group on Monday. Speaking following that meeting Fans For Diversity Campaign Manager Anwar Uddin said: “I think it is fantastic what Michael is doing here at the club. To have someone like Michael, and the club itself, be really supportive of what we do is great because you can get lots of positive work done. We’ve done the Charlton v Homophobia tournament here, we’ve helped support the Red, White and Black days and using those experiences, we can go to other clubs and explain how well these events work.”
The Proud Valiants recently won the Fans For Diversity League One award for the 2018/19 season, chairperson Rob Harris said: “I think for the club, and our fans, an appointment like this is really important. Michael has worked so hard with the Proud Valiants over the years, his knowledge and experience is invaluable.”
Michael is the former Chair of the London FA Inclusion Advisory Board, and a member of the influential EU Advisory Board, looking at Discrimination and Sport. He was recently a guest speaker at the sixth Annual Global Equality & Diversity Conference held at Canary Wharf.