Congratulations to one of our referees, Simon Mahomed, who has just won national recognition for his work with social inclusion.
Simon, 41 from Chorley in Lancashire – who works in our leagues in the Lancashire area – has been announced as the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award winner for December 2021 for his exceptional inclusive work through the power of football in his community as a referee and LGBTQ+ campaigner.
The Nationwide Mutual Respect Award, as part of The Football Association’s Respect Campaign, aims to help make grassroots football more respectful and positive. The new award this season recognises outstanding contributions, achievements and behaviour in grassroots football across the country by young players, coaches, teams, parents and referees.
Simon receives a trophy, the accolade of being the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award winner and also wins tickets to a forthcoming England game.
Simon said: “This is so special and incredibly unexpected to win the Mutual Respect Award from Nationwide.
“I have a great passion and dedication for improving football by fighting LGBTQ+ phobia and promoting better inclusion for LGBTQ+ people, making the beautiful game, a game for everyone.
“I have worked with my local football associations and been involved in their Diversity and Inclusion campaign. I am a great supporter for the Rainbow Laces campaign and have called out recent poor practice and negative social media comments across the network.
“I use my network in a positive manner in particular around the grassroots arena of football. I demonstrate the passion, through the use of my skills, knowledge and understanding of the issues facing the LGBTQ+ community and through the use of refereeing as a person in an under represented arena.
“I am extremely proud of the inclusion work that has been ongoing and I have a unique passion and desire for inclusion and fighting inequality, which is important, as football should be a safe and welcoming place for everyone and I work in numerous ways to create better inclusion.”
The recommendation for the Nationwide Award for Simon said: “Simon is well respected and has the support of his peers within the football community. Its takes a bold and brave individual to back and support this type of campaign sadly due to the negatively society that we sometimes live within. There are not many referees who help and support this campaign on an ongoing basis, sadly due to negative publicly they already receive. Simon continues to strive for success and equality within the game and educating where possible to make awareness a focused approach and not just a single event.”
Leisure Leagues Andy Thorley added his congratulations to Simon and said: “I have spoken to Simon on many occasions and am in awe of his commitment to his community and his desire to improve social inclusion through football. This award is very well deserved.”
Simon was last on the Leisure Leagues website just before Christmas when he organised for the players in our Chorley league to donate selection boxes to terminally ill children, and Andy said: “If ever there was a person who embodies what we try and do in terms of making our leagues central to their communities, then it’s Simon. He is a credit to his family and football in general.”
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If you know someone you would like to nominate for the monthly Nationwide Mutual Respect Award, please follow the link below:
# You can nominate your child, their referees, officials, a parent helper or a club. You can make one nomination per month.
# Nominations close at 11.59 pm on the 21st of each month.
# We’ll use the contact details provided to contact you if your nomination wins.
Nationwide’s target is to engage with one million parents and coaches in the FA Respect Campaign as a part of their three-year partnershipBack to Blog