Community, Diaspora and Immigration

Ugandan born Shahid Sheikh makes history by joining Leicestershire CCC board

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By paul jones

Shahid Sheikh has become the second person inside a week to be co-opted on to the Leicestershire board as the club continues to seek new avenues of funding.

Phillip Bland, former owner of a Leicester insurance broker, was co-opted last week and now Shahid, managing director of Clifton Packaging, has joined the board.

Shahid, who makes history as the first Asian to become a board member, is already well known among staff, players and members.

He has been involved with the club since 2006 when he supported the tour match at Grace Road against Pakistan.

The same year he hosted the Foxes players' pre-match meetings in the Twenty20 Cup – which County went on to win.

In 2007 he co-sponsored Leicestershire's pre-season tour to Sri Lanka and was named the club's cultural ambassador.

Further afield, Shahid was a finalist in the Sony British Asian Sports Awards for his contribution to the community through sport, and he has continued taking up sponsorship and advertising opportunities with the County.

"I am a member who has always tried to give his best for the club's benefit in more ways than one, and I am very happy that the club have finally acknowledged my involvement of the past and have given me the opportunity to offer a whole lot more by being on the board," said Shahid.

He acknowledged that his involvement comes at a difficult time following the departure of chief executive David Smith, senior coach Tim Boon and chairman Neil Davidson.

"The club has gone through the most turbulent of times in the last six months," he said.

"But what we must not ignore is the fact that over the last six years membership has greatly declined and finances have totally dwindled. This is what will be my focus to initially assist the board.

"It is imperative that we can reach out to past and new members and let them know that there is a new beginning at the club. This is a members' club and we need their support more than ever as together we will all achieve more."

Shahid believes there is plenty to build on at the club.

"With the recent appointment of Philip Bland and now myself, I believe that the club have finally demonstrated to the members that the board are prepared to make the brave decisions necessary to assist in bringing back the glory days," he said.

"Tim Boon has certainly left a legacy behind with his young players, who we have all seen. However, with the commitment demonstrated by (captain) Matthew Hoggard and all members of the coaching staff and players, I am sure that we can look forward to a brighter future."

Membership and sponsorship are at the top of Shahid's list of priorities but he said: "It is important that we interact with local businesses, charities and communities.

"There is a lot to do but I am confident that we will achieve the desired results. As with all businesses there will be a strategic business plan in place."

He added: "It makes me extremely proud to be the first Asian board member and I am certain that this will encourage new members to join as it further demonstrates that the board have embraced change.

"From now it is a case of onwards and upwards. I am looking forward to serving the club, the members and working closely with the board and players."

Chairman Paul Haywood said: "We have a lot of Asian people in the city and people are saying the club is not available to Asians.

"I've had a long meeting with Shahid and he thinks he can bring a lot to the club. He is a very proud man and failure is not an issue for him. He doesn't fail."

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