The Football Association (FA) in England has launched the second phase its strategy to increase the representation of Asian communities across English football. The initiative was first launched in 2015. This is an important part of FA’s broader inclusion plan. The announcement was made during a gathering of community members and football stakeholders at Aston Villa FC.
This campaign focusses on the importance of role models and to raise awareness of the Asian ‘success stories’ in English football. The FA has created a short film featuring four Asian role models - referee Lisa Rashid, England Women’s deaf futsal player Lucindha Lawson, Charlton Athletic Women’s manager Riteesh Mishra, and Swansea City FC player Yan Dhanda.
As part of the drive, FA will launch the first Asian inclusion in football online guide, which will share learnings, case studies and provide guidance on Asian inclusion for football at all levels. It will also form an Asian female guidance group, which will inform the actions needed to embed Asian women in football at all levels.
Working alongside the Football Supporters’ Federation, FA will introduce Asian fans forums, starting with the Euro 2020 qualifier between England and Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium. Paul Elliott CBE, chair of FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board, said: "FA is passionate about helping to create an inclusive and diverse game and we want to continue to encourage and support anyone who wants to enjoy football. We recognise the pivotal role FA can play in helping to break down the barriers that may stop people from getting involved in football as Asian communities have been underrepresented across all areas of the game.
"This campaign also emphasises the crucial effect of positive role models in the game. We want the next generation of young Asians to have those role models to not only inspire them, but to help guide them on whichever pathway into the game they wish to take.
"This announcement is an encouraging step forward in our ongoing work to increase Asian inclusion and participation in football. We have made good progress in this area, however we know there is much more to be done to ensure our game better reflects today’s society. This new drive reaffirms our commitment to promoting pathways into the game for people from Asian communities. Working hand in hand with those communities, we want to further build a more inclusive game that is truly for All."
FA is the not-for-profit governing body of football in England. It is responsible for promoting and developing every level of the game, from grassroots to the professional game, and successfully generates enough revenue to support the investment of well over £100m into English football each year. FA oversees 28 England international teams, across men’s, women’s, youth and disability football, as well as running FA competitions, including the Emirates FA Cup and SSE Women's FA Cup, and the world-class facilities of Wembley Stadium and St. George’s Park.