Asians in football
Football is more popular than ever in the British Asian community. Hundreds of thousands of British Asians are playing and watching the game up and down the country every weekend.
Popular myths such as British Asians are only interested in cricket and hockey, and common falsehoods around cultural differences, have been dispelled. Yet there is a massive under-representation of the British Asian community in the professional game.
Zesh Rehman, Michael Chopra and Neil Taylor are the only three players of British Asian descent to have played in the Premier League, with a small handful of others appearing in the English Football League.
These statistics translate to coaching and management positions, roles behind the scenes and the make-up of supporters in grounds throughout the professional leagues.
Kick It Out is keen to address this level of under-representation and works alongside a number of organisations creating opportunities for British Asians. The organisation is a supporter of Chelsea FC Foundation’s ‘Asian Star’ programme and The Football Association’s (FA) Talent ID best practice days, as well as previously supporting the Zesh Rehman Foundation’s ‘Sidelined 2 Sidelines’ initiative.
A key tool used by for Kick It Out to better engage Asian supporters is the Fans For Diversity campaign, which the organisation runs in partnership with the Football Supporters’ Federation.
Since the campaign’s launch in March 2014, Fans For Diversity has worked closely with a number of Asian supporters groups, most notably the Bangla Bantams, who were set up with the help of campaign funding to forge closer ties between Bradford City Football Club and the local Asian community.
Away from supporters groups, a number of leading Asian figureheads in football – Abdal Ahmed from Haringey London Borough Council, Abu Nasir of the Liverpool FC Official Supporters Committee and Samir Singh of Arsenal in the Community – sit on Kick It Out’s Grassroots Guidance Group to help shape the campaign’s work at the amateur level.
Kick It Out also profiles and celebrates the contribution of British Asians who are making progress within the game across a wide range of disciplines, and has provided support in the delivery of the Asian Football Awards (AFA).
Below is some further information on the key organisations Kick It Out works with in this area.
Asian Football Awards (AFA)
Chelsea FC Foundation - Asian Star programme
Chelsea FC Foundation
Tel: 020 7957 8220
Chelsea FC Foundation’s Asian Star programme is the only initiative of its kind undertaken by a professional football club and is designed to give a much-needed boost to Asian participation at all levels of the game.
Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation (MWSF)
Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation
38a Station Road
Tel: 020 8427 0873
Fax: 020 8863 9370
The MWSF is a volunteer-led charity with the overarching aim to provide opportunities for women from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities to participate in a variety of sports without compromising their religious or cultural values.
Zesh Rehman Foundation (ZRF)
The ZRF was set-up to help change perceptions and myths surrounding British Asians in football by supporting aspiring footballers and coaches to develop their skills through coaching clinics, soccer schools and personal development courses.