Oxford United have completed the signing of former Arsenal youth and Northampton Town player Kashif Siddiqi, with the player set to play a key role for the club as player and an ambassador to help stamp out racism in football.
Siddiqi, who can operate at full-back or in midfield, joins the U’s as a free agent having come through the youth training scheme at Boston United and the American collegiate system, playing both in the US and Dubai before spending a season at Northampton. He will now train with the U’s for a couple of weeks before joining a major team in India on loan.
Kash explained the move:
"This opportunity means a lot to me and I'd like to thank everyone at Oxford, I have been out of the game due to injury, during which I have been really focused on community work. I will start training with the under 23's next week, but that is a prelude to a really exciting new adventure for me with a major team in India: we will announce who it is in a few days' time once everything is cleared internationally. Between my travel to India and on breaks, Oxford fans will hopefully see my work off the pitch, as I'd like to bring my charitable work to Oxford through Football for Peace and The Kashif Siddiqi Foundation, although I am desperate to get the boots on and start training again.
“I want to work with Oxford across the community and start to spread the word that anyone can play football, regardless of where they come from or whatever their background is and Football can unite people. I think throughout my entire playing career I have been ‘ An Asian player’; that was what defined me and became an easy label rather than what I could do on the pitch.
“But even during my time in the game and fortunate world travels I have seen huge progress and the game becoming much more open and multicultural and I want to try and move that even further forward. Oxford is a perfect fit: the city is world famous, the club is so inclusive and welcoming and I want to thank Tiger and the Board for this amazing opportunity.”
Director Zaki Nuseibeh was there to welcome Kash to the club:
“Kash is an inspiring individual and an example of how players can make big differences in the community. He really wants to make a real difference to people’s lives. Not just him; everyone who has supported Kash's vision believes passionately that football can do great things to spread harmony and diplomacy around the world and we are proud to have Oxford United team up with him.
“Neutrality and dialogue are the two key messages and we are pleased to be working with Kash in joining the club and are keen to see how we can bring Football for Peace and the Kash Siddiqi Foundation to Oxford. At the same time racism has unfortunately been in the headlines recently. We will not tolerate discrimination of any kind and Kash’s experience and enthusiasm will be of enormous benefit as we continue to work with the relevant groups to ensure that Oxford United is a leading player in making football open to all.”
Background on Charities:
Football for Peace ( FfP) was established in 2006 at the UN by the late Kofi Annan and FIFA, Chilean legend Elias Figueroa. It was co-founded internationally in 2013 by British South Asian international footballer Kashif Siddiqi.
(FfP) is a youth sports movementat the forefront using the global football influence as a force for good to intervene and raise awareness of the planets most pressing issues by combining community-based activity with diplomatic impact.
Football for Peace has a global track record of delivering its programmes in some of the hardest to reach communities around the globe.
The Kashif Siddiqi Foundation is a UK based initiative that works with institutional partners to build health and football academies for the development for under-represented communities.