England manager Gareth Southgate said the country needs to adapt its approach to scouting in order to uncover more British South Asian footballers.
Despite making up 7% of the whole population, just 0.25% of professional footballers are from a British Asian background.
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To mark South Asian Heritage Month, the FA have released the first of a six-part video series featuring players, coaches, and match officials of Asian heritage discussing their football journeys.
And, speaking alongside Swansea City midfielder Yan Dhanda and West Ham women‘s defender Mayumi Pacheco, Southgate said British South Asians have faced serious challenges when attempting to enter the professional game.
“We should be looking at how we scout,” Southgate said in the FA video. “Historically, there has been a sort of unconscious bias, maybe the perception that some Asian players were not as athletic, they weren’t as strong [as other players].
“That is such a ridiculous generalisation. In a lot of communities now, football is being played, in all sorts of variety of areas, so, I think [in terms of] scouting the Asian community, we’ve got to be creative in getting into the places where some of these kids might be playing.
“And encouraging them into broader leagues where they can be assessed more easily against other players, and then making that step into the academy system.”
The FA will release five more videos before South Asian Heritage Month ends on Aug. 17.