British black footballers have doubled in the Premier League where as British Asian numbers are still consistently low says leading sports charity
Sporting Equals, the UK's leading charity promoting ethnic diversity in sport and physical activity, announce a continuation of their strategic partnership with the UK Asian Football Championships. This comes in light of a new study showing that British black players have doubled since 1992 and the numbers of British Asians has remained consistently low.
The UK Asian Football Championships, now in its nineteenth consecutive year has successfully raised the profile of Asians in football and in doing so continues to stimulate much debate around the issues that prevent full participation of British Asians.
Aston Villa's Easah Suliman, a winner at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs), recently captained the England Under 19s team to victory at the European Championships is one of very few British Asians playing professionally.
The championships are organised by the Scottish Ethnic Minority Sports Association (SEMSA) and in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Rangers Football Club and Celtic Football Club. Preliminary games will be played 1stand 2nd of September and the final on 3rd September at Ibrox.
Arun Kang CEO Sporting Equals commenting on the partnership said;
“Sporting Equals are once again supporting the UK Asian Football Championships because the issue of the lack of British Asians in professional football has not gone away, in fact, the numbers are as low as they were two decades ago. British Asians have been established in Britain for over half a century and are prominent in other elite sports like cricket and boxing. However, football has not been able to make the same impact. There are over four million British Asians and football is the most popular participation sport but there have been only 5-10 British Asian professional footballers out of approximately 3000 players in recent years. It seems these players become invisible to the footballing bodies when transitioning into professional football. When it comes to coaching at elite level too it is worrying. There is no asian breakdown but the number of BAME coaches at UEFA B and above level is less than 9%. This is extremely disappointing and the football authorities need to examine whether they have the right infrastructure helping them to increase the British Asian numbers in professional football.
These UK Asian Football Championships, in a similar way to the BEDSAs, provide a platform to showcase BAME talent and are seen as the pinnacle for British Asian footballers with the opportunity to play at Ibrox or Celtic Park.
I would like to congratulate both Celtic, Rangers and SEMSA for their wholehearted commitment to ensure British Asian footballers and coaches get the experience of playing in first class elite settings“.
Gurdawar Dhaliwal, Chairman of the Khalsa Football Federation (KFF), a network of 30+ Asian led grassroots football community development Centres located throughout the UK, said, “The KFF have supported and participated in the UK Asian Championships since their inception, but would have expected more progress to have been made when it comes to Asians in football. The numbers of Asians participating at a grassroots level is not translating through progression in the player pathway and more could be done. Not only do we need more qualified coaches at the UEFA Level B standard and above but we also need more empathy from football coaches about this agenda if things are to change.”
Yunus Lunat, Immediate Past Chair of FA Race Equality Advisory Board, said,
“From an Asian inclusion perspective it is concerning that the footballing authorities are continuing to fail to address the lack of opportunities at governance and administration and Boardroom level. It is this failure and the need to create positive role models that is one of the factors helping to feed the continued exclusion of Asians excelling and progressing in football.”
Lunat continued, “First generation Asian parents ensured their offspring attained qualifications rather than focus upon sport yet there has been little opportunities for this generation who are now into their prime working years. This is largely because of the closed recruitment process which recruits like for like and fails to recognise any transferable skills to allow opportunities for Asians to prove their worth.”
Dilawer Singh, President of the Scottish Ethnic Minority Sports Association (SEMSA) and Tournament organisers welcoming Sporting Equals involvement said,
“We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Sporting Equals and appreciate their support for our event which continues to secure endorsement from both Glasgow Rangers and Celtic Football Clubs respectively.
Whilst we have yet to witness a breakthrough of Asian talent reaching the professional game, I remain hopeful that through events such as the championships we will retain this rather emotive issue on the radar, for the football as well as sporting fraternity to take cognisance.
Furthermore, SEMSA remains committed to the principles of equality, in which we seek to facilitate opportunities with our partners in order that we not only achieve sustainable outcomes but do so based on a model of social integration.”
About Sporting Equals
Sporting Equals exists to actively promote greater involvement in sport and physical activity for disadvantaged communities particularly the black and minority ethnic population. We area dvisors to the Department of Culture Media and Sport.
Our mission is to make a sustainable difference to the inclusion of all under represented communities in sport and physical activity so as to help increase participation, improve the long term opportunities and health outcomes of those communities as well as to grow elite level talent.
For more information about Sporting Equals, please visit the website: www.sportingequals.org.uk
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