English clubs criticised for failing to boost Asian participation

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The Independent Online

A decade on and the figures speak for themselves: there are just four professional Asian footballers in the UK and only 10 Asian boys in Premier League football academies.

The only current Premiership Asian footballer, Fulham's Zesh Rehman, is a regular in his club's first team. But there is little sign of any up-and-coming players following in his footsteps.

The chairman of Asians in Football, Jas Bains, is scathing at the effort made by football clubs to encourage Asian players up the football ladder: "I think it's amazing that there are just four professional footballers - it's just a pathetic number.

"I think most football clubs are just operating on default mode and doing absolutely nothing to work with Asian communities.

"We don't want to be told we're too short or our diet is not good enough or that our culture hinders us from taking part in this sport."

Bains also feels people come up with stereotyped reasons for this shortfall.

"It's not the case that Asian boys only play football with other Asian boys. Nor is it the case that all their families would disapprove of their children playing football professionally."

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