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FA to intoduce plans to involve more British Asian players in the professional game

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The Football Association is to publish plans later this year about increasing the number of British Asian players and coaches in the English game.

FA inclusion projects co-ordinator Kevin Coleman, "There are some specific targets around Asians in football. Later this year we will be publishing how we plan to move forward on this over the next two to three years."

After the last census in 2011, the Asian population in England stood at well over 4 million, over 7% of the population, but the number of Asian footballers nowhere near represents the proportion of Asian people in England. Coleman worked on this issue previously with anti-racism campaigners Kick It Out.

"The Premier League, Professional Footballers' Association, Football League, Football Foundation, Referees' Association and League Managers' Association all came together and signed up to that plan," Coleman continued.

"The fact that all the authorities came together is the first time that that has happened in 150 years. That is a milestone that has really opened up some doors."

"Before it was the FA doing work on its own, possibly the PFA doing work with players on its own and lots of good bits of work happening around football but nothing collective. This will signify quite a big change over the next few years."

"The targets are around male and female participation, talent identification, community development centres and role models from the Asian community."

"There are also other BAME - that's the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities - targets of 10% referees and 10% coaches. I'm working on specific plans that are going to hit those targets."

The British-born players with Asian heritage who have professional contracts in English football are Neil Taylor at Swansea and Adil Nabi at West Brom in the Premier League, Michael Chopra at Blackpool, Danny Batth at Wolves, Malvind Benning at Walsall, Jhai Dhillon at Stevenage and Kashif Siddiqi at Northampton in the Football League.

However, of these players only Taylor, Chopra, Batth and Benning have played first-team football for their clubs.

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