The FA has today released a strategy to increase Asian representation in grassroots football.
Entitled ‘Bringing Opportunities to Communities’ the 24-page document plan is a reflection of feedback given at eight community football forums which took place with the most densely populated Asian communities in the country last year.
The overall aim of the plan is for Asian communities to be proportionately represented throughout the structure of football in England and is aimed at grassroots level, the part of the game which The FA can directly affect.
Areas such as participation, talent development, role models and how to develop talent ID officers are chronicled within the plan, with progress measures set against them.
The issue of the under-representation of Asian communities in football has been well recognised and documented over the last few decades.
In 1996, author and activist Jas Bains, on behalf of the National Asians in Football Forum, published a seminal report entitled ‘Asians Can’t Play Football’.
This report gave an in-depth narrative on the issue from key community football clubs at the time, such as Albion Sports and Punjabi Wolves.
In 2005, he penned a follow-up report entitled ‘Asians Can Play Football’ which stated that after a decade of activity to address the situation there was still very little representation in terms of the number of professional players, individuals within the hierarchy and structure of the game and active match-goers from Asian communities.