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Cyrille Regis remembered at Football Black List Celebration

LEGACY: Cyrille Regis (second left) with Aston Villa’s Yannick Bolasie (left), QPR’s director of football, Les Ferdinand and FBL celebration host DJ Spoony (right)

THE PRESTIGIOUS players awards at the Football Black List celebration will be renamed after the late great Cyrille Regis in London tonight (November 1).

Footballers, managers, senior administrators, politicians, community activists and grassroots coaches will come together to celebrate the renaming of the player awards and 10 years of the initiative on what will be a very special night.

Liverpool forward, Mo Salah, Newcastle winger, Christian Atsu, Aston Villa loanee, Yannick Bolasie, former Tottenham Hotspur Ladies player, Eartha Pond and the recently retired, Liam Rosenior, will the first recipients of the newly named awards in honour of the pioneering black footballer - who also made great strides as a mentor and agent when he finished his playing career.

The Football Black List celebration, supported by the Premier League, highlights the contributions of people from African and Caribbean backgrounds to the game - a group that is under represented away from the pitch.

While more than 30 per cent of professional players in the UK are black, there are just seven BAME managers across the 92 clubs, and only one Chairman. To help address this the Football Black List shines a light on those who are inspiring the next generation to consider roles in the game away from playing.

Award categories include coaching and management, administration, media, commercial, community and practitioners.

Cyrille’s wife, Julia Regis, said: “The family welcome the renaming of the Football Black List players award for contribution to football and beyond, and know Cyrille would have been touched by this.

“Cyrille spent much of his time mentoring and advising players, not only on how to maximise their potential on the field but also off it.

“Footballers have a great opportunity to use their profile and status to help support and push forward positive change in communities and Cyrille was always very keen to encourage this.”

Rodney Hinds, co-founder of the Football Black List and Voice of Sport editor said: “Cyrille is a true football pioneer. We were all devastated by his passing but it was a real privilege to be in his presence at the last Football Black List awards.

"To be able to honour outstanding contributions to the beautiful game, like Cyrille, is part of the thinking behind the Football Black List and we are delighted to do so.”

Leon Mann, co-founder of the Football Black List, added: “Cyrille was a big supporter of the Football Black List and we were honoured he could join us last year where he was awarded for his outstanding contribution to the game and the black community.

“We all owe a great deal to Cyrille and we are delighted his family were supportive of our suggestion to rename the player awards and ensure he will always be a part of our celebration.”

There will also be special awards – named in honour of the late Keith Alexander – given to outstanding individuals for their work in the game, including footballers Lianne Sanderson and Eniola Aluko.

One of the world’s first black professional footballers will be remembered at the event through the Walter Tull award - marking 100 years since the pioneer died during World War 1, while serving as the first black British officer to command white troops.

The initiative will also recognise the next generation of leaders in the sport from the black community - through the Ugo Ehiogu Ones to Watch awards.

The official charity partner of the Football Black List this year is Prostate Cancer UK. One in four black men will get the cancer, so the event hopes to raise awareness of the importance of regular health checks to detect any issues as early as possible.

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