British Asian footballers numbers remain low

29th Sep 2017

Nadine Osman

A new study has shown that British Black players have doubled since 1992 and the number of British Asians have remained consistently low in the Premier League.

Aston Villa’s Easah Suliman recently captained the England Under 19s team to victory at the European Championships is one of very few British Asians playing professionally.

Centre-half Suliman, who made his full debut for Aston Villa in the 4-1 win over Wigan Athletic on August 23, is already contracted to the club until 2019. He is also the only Muslim to have captained England at any age level and was recognised at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards last year.

The championships, organised by the Scottish Ethnic Minority Sports Association and in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Rangers Football Club and Celtic Football Club, were played from September 1 to 3 at Ibrox.

Explaining the level of exclusion of Asians footballers and coaches Sporting Equals CEO, Arun Kang, said; “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.”

He added, “It seems these players become invisible to the footballing bodies when transitioning into professional football. When it comes to coaching at an 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 percent. 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.”

Yunus Lunat, Immediate Past Chair of FA Race Equality Advisory Board, said, “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 have 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.”

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