Riki Samuel (Richard Alexander Samuel)
Riki Samuel is Chairman and founder of American Football Development Ltd, and is passionate about the game, having been a fan since the ‘80s and then re-introduced to it by his son Gur.
While Riki has been involved in sports through business before – in 1985 he worked for a sportswear manufacturer – a large part of his career which spans over 30 years of board level experience has been within the telecommunications industry with Riki also the Chairman and founder of Sesui Ltd, an award winning provider of intelligent cloud-based telephony and virtual contact centres, and which has recently received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.
Having previously held the position of Chair for a national cross-sector pressure group, other active roles now include Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Management Trustee of the Prince of Wales Youth Club. Additionally, Riki is also chairman and founder of global communications consultancy Mercury Energy Ltd, and has held a number of senior Director appointments in the transport and logistics industries both in the UK and in mainland Europe.
Talking about the decision for creating AFD, the inclusivity of the game was a key contributing factor and one that has been a theme that underpins all of the companies he involves himself in.
“When I first saw American Football in the US I saw that not only how inclusive it was from a participation level – how people without good hand/eye co-ordination could still have a valuable team role – but I also saw how it broke down class barriers, how it provided real community engagement, and we wanted to bring the same opportunities to the UK.”
Gur Samuel first fell in love with football at university, when he joined the University of Nottingham Outlaws. American Football quickly became his passion, which he began combining with his other passion, writing, and began an NFL fan blog with two teammates, which eventually led to a career as a sportswriter.
With his knowledge of the British appetite for American football, through his work as one of the few professional British NFL journalists, Gur co-founded AFD. Outside of his work with AFD, Gur is still an active sports journalist as editor-in-chief of RealSport, writer for SB Nation and NFL contributor to CNN. He has written for and appeared on national and international online, print and broadcast media, including the BBC, the Mail Online, Yahoo!, ABC, CBS and NBC. In his spare time, he coaches for local American Football teams, the Canterbury Christ Church Chargers and the East Kent Mavericks.