Mesut Ozil has said it will provide a platform for British players in South Asia to shine after partnering with partners such as the Football Association and Bradford City to launch the Football for Peace Mesut Ozil Centre.
specifically addressed to sky sports news Last year, former Liverpool striker Emil Heskey spoke about his childhood in Leicester and playing football with South Asian kids in his youth, saying there is an undeniable passion for the sport in the community.
According to Kick It Out president Sanjay Bhandari, less than 0.25% of the players in England’s league are of South Asian origin, despite being around 8% of the UK population. sky sports news That it is “the biggest statistical anomaly in football”.
“I have always wondered why the South Asian community is only allowed to be a fan of the game,” said World Cup winner Ozil.
“Why don’t we see more players or coaches entering professional football? I want to promote them, give them a chance to be successful on and off the pitch.
“I myself come from a diverse ethnic background and understand the challenges. I hope that the Football for Peace Mesut Ozil Center will become the platform they need. “
The Mesut Ozil Development Center aims to provide a bridge to football and education and will be held at the University of Bradford, with elite sessions taking place at the Bradford City training ground.
Bradford City CEO Ryan Sparks said: “We are delighted to be part of the Mesut Ozil Football for Peace Development Centre, which will facilitate the development and inclusion of the South Asian community in football. The inclusion and diversity of our club and Bradford. are fundamental to success – and we pride ourselves on providing a welcoming and warm environment for all.”
FA Board Member Rupinder Bains said, “The FA is proud to support this important initiative that aligns with our inclusion strategy in Asia, bringing opportunities to communities. All people, their race or origin Should be able to play and enjoy the game, regardless.
“Through this initiative, we expect that more youth from historically underrepresented ethnic backgrounds will enter academic structures, creating a future, stronger talent pool for professional sport. This is a promising step forward.”
Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, said: « Through this partnership, we hope to use football to connect with young people in our communities, show how the sport can help solve social and environmental issues and help them become leaders of the future. that can help make a difference in societies around the world. ”
The Bradford Hub is sponsored by INARE and will be run as a pilot, with co-branded Football for Peace centers with various players to be deployed in different parts of the country as the new year approaches.
Ozil is a longtime supporter of Football for Peace, a United Nations-backed global organization founded internationally by former British South Asian and Pakistani international footballer Kash Siddiqui.
Ozil partnered with Siddiqui last year during the lockdown, with the couple handling the delivery of 500,000 meals across the UK to be put into Wembley Stadium Waste Management.
Siddiqui said, “Football has given me a lot, and by working with Mesut we want to create a platform that provides a framework within the football pyramid between professional clubs and our community.
“While it is important to see greater representation in professional sport, it is also essential to recognize the power that football can have on communities. Our continued engagement with young people and communities is intended to help mitigate the devastating effects of COVID-19, which has also led to reduced sports participation, especially within the South Asian community. “
The “often overlooked” British South Asian community
The center is also supported by the national charity Sporting Equals, which formed the British Asian in Sport and Physical Activity Board (BASPA) in 2018 to address how British South Asians are under-represented at the world’s highest level. Why representation?
Only seven athletes (out of 630) of South Asian origin competed for the GB team at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Five years later, the situation worsened – rugby gold medalist Ayuz Bhuta was the only British athlete from South Asia in a wheelchair. To participate in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
BASPA’s Vice President of Coaching Manisha Taylor, MBE, said: “The challenges of talent pathways and broader support to British communities in South Asia are long overdue. The British South Asian community is often overlooked.
“There is a lot of misinformation and old stereotypes about our community, which has created an unconscious bias towards our energy and our passion for the sport which is not just cricket or hockey. “
Gurdawar Singh Dhaliwal, President of Khalsa Football Federation, said: “Lack of representation in the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, many would speculate that our community is not interested in getting involved in football or maybe we are not talented enough. This is absolutely true. No – In 1996, Jas Bains and Raj Patel pointed to the dangers of this misinformation and attempted to address it with the ironically named “Cannot Play Asian Football” report.
“It is sad that 25 years later, the desire and talent within British communities in South Asia remains, a lack of understanding, commitment, empathy and support for the talent journey of elite and distinctive community engagement, from achieving our community professionally. levels that we know we are capable of achieving.”
‘Proud’ Mishra wants more South Asian coaches
Meanwhile, Charlton Women’s assistant manager Ritesh Mishra expressed pride in representing Britain’s South Asian coaches at the highest level in football.
Mishra is an assistant to Karen Hills at the Charlton Women’s Championship, which makes her the highest-ranked South Asian coach in elite sport in England.
“I am extremely proud to be able to represent the community in my last name and for myself, women’s football and elite football in general,” Mishra said. Sky Sports News.
“On the other hand, it’s very disappointing that there aren’t others – especially at the top of the game – who have made it. We are starting to see good progress, and I hope I can talk to you and give this idea to young coaches I hope you can trade in professional football.
“It’s difficult. But we can see that there’s a lot of work behind the scenes to help coaches like me get to the top – and then it’s about our quality, our flexibility and our effort to try to be there.” Once you get into these jobs, that’s what really matters.”
British South Asians in Football
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