Gareth Southgate with coach Chris Powell. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
AHEAD of the South Asian Heritage Month, England’s senior football team manager Gareth Southgate featured alongside Swansea’s Yan Dhanda and West Ham women’s Maz Pacheco in FA video series.
Southgate says clearer pathway is needed for south Asian talent to progress in the professional game, and adding that football must revisit its approach when scouting and creating opportunities for British South Asian talents.
According to figures British South footballers across England’s top four leagues stands at less than 0.25 per cent.
In order to mark South Asian Heritage Month, the FA has released the first of a six-part video series featuring players, coaches, and match officials of Asian heritage discussing their individual journeys in the game.
Speaking alongside Dhanda and Pacheco, Southgate said scouting in the asian community needs to be creative.
“We should be looking at how we scout,” Southgate said.
“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.”
Five more videos will be shared on England Football, FA, England, and Lionesses social media channels throughout South Asian Heritage Month, which ends on August 17.
This follows the FA’s update on its Asian inclusion strategy, Bringing Opportunities to Communities, which was shared earlier this year.
Launching in 2019, the strategy aims to ensure more people from Asian communities are part of English football both on and off the pitch, focusing on five pillars: The FA and its culture; pathways; grassroots football; women and girls; and community engagement.
The FA has also launched a central jobs platform, aiming to create greater access to roles available across English football, and to help organisations and clubs reach more diverse candidates from both within and outside of the game.