Athreeyearplanlookingtoaddressthe under-representationofAsiancommunitiesinfootballhasbeenpresentedbythe EnglishFootballAssociation(TheFA)aspartoftheirInclusion& Anti-Discriminationstrategy.
Entitled ‘Bringing Opportunities to Communities’ the 24-page document reflects findings of eight consultation forums delivered by the football governing body across several Asian communities in England in 2014.
It aims to encourage Asian participation at grassroots football and ultimately make Asian communities proportionately represented throughout the structure of football.
Areas such as participation, talent development, role models and how to develop talent officers are chronicled within the plan, with progress measures set against them.
Drawing on his experience British-Pakistani England Under-17s international Easah Suliman said: “It’s huge playing for England. I’m trying to do it to prove to those younger than me that they can achieve their dreams.
“Being a British-Pakistani, it doesn’t really happen that often to people in my community. I hope that I’m inspiring people around me and in my area to believe that they can achieve what they want with hard work,”
Over the recent years, the representation of Asian communities in football has been a recurrent topic of debates in England. In 1996, author and activist Jas Bains, on behalf of the National Asians in Football Forum, published a report entitled ‘Asians Can’t Play Football’, followed years later by another one on the results of a decade of activity to address the situation (‘Asians Can Play Football’).
The first report gave an in-depth narrative on the issue from key community football clubs at the time, such as Albion Sports and Punjabi Wolves.
More recently, discussions around the presence of ethnic minorities in football leading and management positions as well as the creation of supporters groups of ethnic minority backgrounds intensified the debate.