FA roadshow events aiming to address the under-representation of British Asians in football
The Football Association is hosting a series of roadshows aimed at increasing the involvement of the Asian community in the national game.
The forums, which kicked off at West Ham's Boleyn Ground earlier this month and will end at Burnley's Turf Moor on 18 September, are visiting some of England's largest Asian communities, seeking ideas and contributions on how best to tackle the under-representation of Asians in the game.
The forums will be delivered with County FAs, professional clubs, local community groups and amateur teams.
FA consultant Brendon Batson said: "We have developed, designed and consulted on our Asians in Football work through a nationwide network of contacts with knowledge of both football and local Asian communities.
"The next step is to take the plan into communities for dialogue, consultation and feedback. The Asian community is the largest diverse community in the UK, close to five per cent of the population or three million people.
"The several generations, nationalities and faiths that make up the Asian community are not reflected across football. This is just one of the reasons why this work is very important."
Only three players of British Asian descent - Zesh Rehman, Michael Chopra and Neil Taylor - have played in the Premier League, with a small handful of others appearing in the Football League.
One of them, Indy Aujla, currently at Boston United, has given his backing to the forums.
"It’s great to see the FA engaging with the British Asian community and taking the lead on this issue," said Aujila.
"There needs to be a body of work being done at grassroots level which has already started and which these sessions can help drive, whether these efforts are being reflected at the elite end of the game will probably surface as the forums unfold."
Pav Singh, a Bradford-based UEFA A Coach, supported that viewpoint: "This is a great opportunity for voices within the British Asian community to be heard. I’m keen to be part of the solution moving forward and hope others get involved, too."
Upton Park, West Ham - 5 August
The Hawthorns, West Bromwich - 12 August
Loftus Road, London - 19 August
Bramall Lane, Sheffield - 28 August
Riverside Football Ground, Middlesbrough - 4 September
Kenilworth Road, Luton - 9 September
Turf Moor, Burnley - 18 September