Wanderers Welcome Ministerial Visit From Pakistan
BOLTON WANDERERS FOOTBALL CLUB played hosts to Pakistan’s Minister of Sport and Culture, Ali Shan, at a recent Barclays Premiership home game against Blackburn Rovers.
Mr Shan, who hails from the Azad Kashmir region in Pakistan, was a guest of the Club’s Community Cohesion Manager Abdul Basit during his two-week visit to the United Kingdom. Mr Shan was keen to gain an understanding of the Club’s highly-acclaimed unity in diversity project, which launched last year with the aim of spreading cohesion in the vibrant communities that make up the Borough of Bolton.
“I was delighted to be a guest of Bolton Wanderers at the recent match against Blackburn Rovers,” said Mr Shan.
“The Club is at the forefront of new initiatives and building strong communities. I take great heart in the work that Abdul Basit and the unity in diversity steering group are hoping to achieve over the years ahead.”
As part of his visit to Bolton, which has been coordinated by the Club and Mohammed Rahiem – Regional Community Sport Development Officer Sporting Equals – Mr Shan will also attend a meeting at the Wanderers Training Ground in Euxton early next week with a view to developing a partnership with the Club’s International Academy in Pakistan. He will meet with International Academy Manager John Hindley and Academy Director Chris Sulley, who continue to spread Wanderers’ vision around the globe.
“I also wanted to come to Bolton to appreciate the work the Club is doing to develop partnerships with clubs and schools around the world as part of its ambitious International Academy project. I understand relationships are already in place in USA, Europe, India and Africa and I am keen to take this initiative to Pakistan. I do believe there is potential of a tie up between some of the forward thinking sports schools and clubs in the Azad Kashmir region and Bolton.”
Bolton chairman Phil Gartside, who has previously worked in Pakistan, is passionate to forge relationships with a country he admires greatly.
“I have a passionate interest in Pakistan having worked there a few years ago,” said Mr Gartside.
“I admire the work Ali Shan is carrying out in his home country by putting sport at the top of the social and economic agenda. Cricket is still the King, but football is gathering momentum across the country. With the Barclays Premiership taking the game to the world, football is becoming more accessible. By harvesting relationships with the region, Bolton Wanderers can make a positive impact with a potential partnership going forward.”