British Asians in association football
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The term "British Asian" generally refers to British citizens who can trace their origin to South Asia; however, it also refer to those of East Asian origin. The lack of British Asians in association football has received significant media attention, and has seen some clubs announce plans to explicitly target young British Asian players.
In October 2017 the BBC stated that out of 3,000 professional footballers in England, only 10 were Asian.
In April 2001, Britons of South or East Asian heritage constituted over 55% of the non-white population, or at least 4.4% of the total population. 2007 estimates for England only suggest at least 7.0% of the English population as being of Asian origin, or 59% of non-whites.
A Commission for Racial Equality survey in 2004 found only seven professional British Asian footballers playing in the UK; the same survey also found only ten British Asian players at Premier League academies. By February 2008 the number of professionals had dropped to just five, and less than 1 in 100 of young players in Academies throughout the entire English football league system were Asian. Current professionals, such as Adnan Ahmed, have publicly spoken out about the lack of fellow Asians in the sport.
Zesh Rehman, of Pakistani origin, was the first British Asian to play in the Premiership. Rehman later launched his own Foundation in May 2010, with the intention of helping young British Asians in football.
On 28 November 2017, Hamza Choudhury made his Premier League debut for Leicester coming on as substitute in the 83rd minute of a home win against Tottenham Hotspur. He is the first player of Bangladeshi descent to have played in the Premier League, as well as the only Bangladeshi to currently play in the Premier League.
In October 2019 there were "just 12 players of South Asian heritage across the Premier League and the English Football League".
A number of British Asians have represented their secondary nations at international level; a full list can be found below.
In March 2009, Premier League club Chelsea announced plans to target young players from Asian communities. Two players found on the trial later signed with Southend United and Leyton Orient, and in May 2010 Chelsea launched a second initiative, with the aim to find six young British Asian players.
Research compiled by the Premier League in March 2009 concluded that more British Asians were attending games than ever before. However, research in 2013 by the BBC found that only 1% of fans of teams in the North West of England are Asian, despite making up 20% of the population of some areas.
The Asian Football Awards
Launched to recognise the outstanding contribution to both the professional game and grass roots initiatives by individuals and groups across the UK with South Asian heritage, the awards focus on the positive efforts made in the football industry.
The Football Association has held meetings on the matter of British Asians in association football, and they launched a campaign in 2013 to increase British Asians in football, though in March 2014 it announced plans to increase the number of British Asians in football would be delayed. FA chairman Greg Dyke admitted in December 2014 that attempts to increase Asian participation in the sport had failed.
In January 2012 the inaugural Asian Football Awards were held.
In April 2019 British Asian footballers spoke out about the racist abuse they had encountered. In August 2019 Yan Dhanda said that the racism he has encountered as a British Asian footballer inspires him to play his best.
List of British Asian footballers
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The following is a list of notable British Asian footballers – those who have participated at professional or international level – organised by ethnic heritage.
|Name||Heritage||Debut||International details||Notes & references|
|Choudhury, Hamza||Bangladesh||2015||Youth caps for England|||
|Chung, Sammy||Republic of China||1951|
|Soo, Frank||Republic of China||1933||Full caps for England|
|Carter, Jimmy||India||1987||First Asian to play in the Premier League, but did not disclose his background at the time|
|Chopra, Michael||India||2000||Youth caps for England||In August 2014 Chopra stated that he wanted to play for India at international level.|
|Dhanda, Yan||India||2018||Youth caps for England|||
|Dosanj, Aman||India||1999||Youth caps for England Women||First British Asian to represent England at any level|
|Sansara, Netan||India||2008||Youth caps for England|
|Taylor, Neil||India||2007||Senior caps for Wales|||
|Williams, Rhys||India||2008||Full caps for Australia||Born in Australia to a British father and an Indian mother|
|Williams, Ryan||India||2011||Australia U-20 caps||Born in Australia to a British father and an Indian Mother|
|Kasim, Yaser||Iraq||2010||Full caps for Iraq|
|Jalal, Shwan||Iraq||2000||Full caps for England C|
|Ahmed, Adnan||Pakistan||2004||Full caps for Pakistan|||
|Ashraf, Reis||Pakistan||2009||Full caps for Pakistan|
|Bashir, Atif||Pakistan||2004||Full caps for Pakistan||Born in Germany to a British Asian father and a German Turkish mother|
|Docker, Adam||Pakistan||2007||Full caps for Pakistan|
|Gondal, Usman||Pakistan||2006||Full caps for Pakistan|
|Iqbal, Amjad||Pakistan||2007||Full caps for Pakistan|
|Khan, Sabhir||Pakistan||2009||Full caps for Pakistan|
|Nabi, Adil||Pakistan||2013||Youth caps for England|||
|Rehman, Zesh||Pakistan||2003||Full caps for Pakistan|||
|Siddiqi, Kashif||Pakistan||2005||Full caps for Pakistan|||
|Suliman, Easah||Pakistan||2015||Youth caps for England||First player of Pakistani heritage to captain an England team|
|Etheridge, Neil||Philippines||2008||Full caps for Philippines|
|Hartmann, Mark||Philippines||2011||Full caps for Philippines|
|Hartmann, Matthew||Philippines||2006||Full caps for Philippines|
|Gier, Rob||Philippines||2000||Full caps for Philippines|
|Gould, Chad||Philippines||2004||Full caps for Philippines|
|Greatwich, Christopher||Philippines||2004||Full caps for Philippines|
|Greatwich, Phil||Philippines||2006||Full caps for Philippines|
|Greatwich, Simon||Philippines||2008||Full caps for Philippines|
|Younghusband, James||Philippines||2006||Full caps for Philippines|
|Younghusband, Phil||Philippines||2006||Full caps for Philippines|
|Chunonsee, Mika||Thailand||2007||Youth caps for Wales; full caps for Thailand|
|Ramasut, Tom||Thailand||1996||Youth caps for Wales|
|Waite, Jamie||Thailand||2004||Full caps for Thailand|
In popular culture
The 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham deals with issues relating to British Asians in football.
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