Premier League launches an initiative to recognise more South Asian talent in football
Zidane Iqbal, the first footballer of South Asian heritage to play for Manchester United. Image by Martin Rickett.
A new scheme to identify talented South Asian football players was introduced in Birmingham at a meeting where over 100 coaches and 35 clubs from all over England were present.
The initiative, called South Asian Action Plan is launched by Premier League in partnership with Kick It Out, which has identified that South Asian men are underrepresented in the sport and decades of talent has been lost. Under this plan, the Premier League hopes to identify young South Asian talent among boys of “foundation phase”, or those between ages eight and 12.
Premier League’s director of football, Neil Saunders, acknowledged, “We feel there’s a really important role we can play to accelerate this change and to be really explicit to Asian communities that football is for you and our academies are for you. We know through the data that young Asian boys, and we’re talking about boys in this instance, love football. They’re playing football at grassroots level, they’re watching the Premier League and this hopefully is an explicit statement about our commitment to embracing them and providing them with better pathways to thrive in our environment.”