Lisa Rashid

Increasing Asian Participation In Grassroots Football

The FA has announced a new drive to increase Asian inclusion in grassroots football, launching in the 2019/20 season.

Following the Bringing Opportunities to Communities initiative, which the FA launched in 2015, it will continue the ongoing work to tackle underrepresentation of Asians in football as part of In Pursuit of Progress, which is the organisation’s commitment to unite the game and break down barriers that get in the way of progress.

The announcement was made during an event held at Villa Park last night [30 April]. With a lack of Asian role models across the professional game, the event launched with a video including FA referee Lisa Rashid, Swansea City FC player Yan Dhanda, and England Women’s deaf Futsal player Lhathini Pushpalingham encouraging young Asian boys and girls to participate in football and to pursue it as a professional career option if they wish.

The FA will deliver eight regional Asian inclusion training days within the first season, bringing together local Asian communities with professional clubs and County Football Associations. It will also launch the first digital Asian Inclusion Guide in May 2020, which will share learnings and provide guidance on Asian inclusion within football as a whole.

The FA will also work with The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) to introduce Asian fan forums at England international matches, starting with the Euro 2020 qualifier between England and Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Saturday 7 September.

Other areas of the plan include forming an FA Asian female guidance group, which will sit under The FA Women’s Board and will dictate the actions needed to embed Asian women in football at all levels. This work will form part of the FA’s next Women’s Strategy in 2021.

Paul Elliott CBE, Chair of The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board, said: “Ensuring football is For All and valuing and celebrating our differences continues to be a priority for The FA. We’re determined to break down any barriers which may get in the way of progress and ensure nobody gets left behind due to their race, gender, sexuality or otherwise.

“This is an exciting step and our work around Asian participation in football has been ongoing for a long time, but we know there is much more to be done to ensure the game better reflects wider society. This is something we’re committed to and as well as continuously working with local communities, we’ll be publishing annual updates of our progress on Asian inclusion.”