We welcomed 700 guests to Wembley to celebrate Vaisakhi in 'Faith & Football' event

Thursday 02 May 2024
Wembley Stadium hosted a Vaisakhi celebration event on Wednesday 1 May

Wembley Stadium played host to a Vaisakhi celebration on Wednesday evening, the latest in our series of ‘Faith and Football’ events.

Vaisakhi is celebrated by Sikhs around the world each year to mark the creation of the Khalsa in 1699 by tenth Sikh guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

This year, over 700 guests experienced the evening with many Sikh artists including the Sikh Musuem Initiative presenting their Sikhi based artwork which also included a VR experience.

The evening began with a performance of Kirtan (religious hymns) by the Grewal Twins before our hosts, broadcaster and DJ Harpz Kaur and Sky News Journalist Amrit Singh Mann, introduced FA Chair Debbie Hewitt MBE and FA head of diversity and inclusion programmes Dal Singh Darroch to welcome the guests.

A performance of Kirtan took place at the start of the event

Guests were then treated to several showcases of Sikh participants in football, such as England WU15s and Wolverhampton FC Women player Sareet Binning, the first South Asian professional referee in the men’s game Sunny Singh Gill, Newcastle United FC U9-14s goalkeeping coach Amrik Hare as well as on-stage conversations with BAMREF representative and female Sikh referee Rashpal Shergill and FA refereeing diversity manager Raj Randhawa.

A Faith and Football panel discussion followed, with Harpz and Amrit leading a chat featuring professional players Simran Jhamat (West Bromwich Albion), Mal Benning (Shrewsbury Town), Arjun Raikhy (Leicester City), Kira Rai (Derby County Women) and Sandeep Tak Mascarenhas (Luton Ladies). Guests from across the country were given real insight into the minds of players and what it takes to play football professionally.

Over 700 guests attended the Vaisakhi celebrations at Wembley Stadium

At pitchside, Tan Dhesi MP for Slough addressed the audience followed by a talk on Vaisakhi and its significance by Dr Jasjit Singh of Leeds University.

Traditional Sikh prayers Chaupai Sahib were led by youngsters from Khalsa Primary School and Pioneer Secondary Academy before the Ardaas was performed by the Panj Pyare (‘five beloved ones’) of Khalsa Jatha British Isles of Shepherd’s Bush Gurdwara.

Guests were served Langar (food served as per the Sikh principle of the ‘free community kitchen’) by Khalsa Jatha supported by team SEVA with house chai served by popular South Asian restaurant chain, Dishoom in Wembley’s Bobby Moore Suite before the evening came to a close.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels