Yan Dhanda says he is proud of the explosion of interest in British South Asians in football after taking a stand following comments from former FA chairman Greg Clarke in 2020.
Clarke resigned as FA chairman after making a series of remarks to a digital, culture, media and sport committee, including saying “if you go to the IT department at the FA, there’s “There are a lot more Asians than Afro-Caribbeans. They have different career interests.” at FIFA.
South Asian-led fan groups affiliated with the Fans for Diversity campaign expressed dismay at comments about reinforcing lazy stereotypes, and in a moving interview with Sky Sports News, Dhanda – whose father Jas hails from the northern Indian state of Punjab – said Clarke’s remarks showed how the game was moving backwards rather than forwards in the fight for gender equality. ethnically diverse communities in football.
Since that interview with the summer of Ross County who signed Dhanda, sky sports created a one-of-a-kind index page on British South Asians in football, which educated and brought untold stories to mainstream media, changing the landscape of the community by identifying a new generation of role models in the game .
Former Liverpool and West Brom youngster Dhanda said Sky Sports News: “I’m super proud [of my personal contribution]. That was my main goal, to get people to stand up and talk about it.
“For the amount of aid [South] Asian players are winning now and for me to see so many more and more players in the youth ranks makes me happy.
And for people like me [and senior professionals like] Mal Benning and Danny Batth for continuing to show that anything is possible no matter where you are from is amazing.
“The work Sky Sports is doing is really good too, and really positive, and I hope it can continue in the future. Hopefully we’ll see a lot more young Asian players come in and show that they can make a living out of it. football.”
British South Asians are the country’s largest ethnic minority group, but the community has been massively underrepresented in the professional game for decades, with Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari describing it to Sky Sports News in December 2020 as “the biggest statistical anomaly in English football”.
Not enough work done
Last year, the PFA’s Riz Rehman took aim at the lack of activity in the game, saying: “I think there’s too much talk, and I’ve said it publicly, there’s a lot of talk. We want action, we want to work.”
Kick It Out president Tony Burnett has since said the South Asian voice was essential in the game, adding, “we have to work harder, we have to work faster.”
Speaking during South Asian Heritage Month last year, England manager Gareth Southgate acknowledged the unconscious biases players of South Asian descent have always been affected by, stressing the importance of widening the net when it comes to identifying talent.
“In many communities now, football is played, in all kinds of areas,” Southgate said.
“I think [in terms of] in scouting the south asian community we need to be creative about getting into places where some of these kids might be playing and encouraging them into larger leagues where they can be evaluated more easily against other players and then do that not in the academy system.”
Ahead of the Women’s Euro, the FA’s director of women’s football, Baroness Sue Campbell, said Sky Sports News she thinks meaningful changes for various communities at the elite end of women’s football could take years, admitting that the current system of identifying and recruiting talent excludes many people.
The FA has since confirmed the award of the first 60 Girls’ Emerging Talent Center licenses, which will see the number of young female players entering FA programs across the country rise from 1,722 to more than 4,200 by the end. of the 2023-24 season.
“Our main objectives are to provide greater access to more female players while diversifying the talent pool,” added FA Women’s Technical Manager Kay Cossington.
The latest figures from the PFA indicate that only 9.7% of players in the Women’s Super League are from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The England squad that just won the Women’s Euro featured three players of various ethnicities, although none of them started a game during the tournament.
sky sports recognized and began taking action to address the lack of diversity in women’s football in 2020 as part of its £30million pledge to tackle systemic racism and make a difference in communities across the Kingdom -United.
sky sports worked with dozens of current and former players from various ethnic backgrounds and tried to give them a platform to share their stories in an attempt to capture the imagination to inspire the next generation of female footballers.
Patterns have been identified and highlighted, with talent reported directly to the FA and clubs as part of Sky Sports’ unprecedented commitment to British South Asians in football, which has also enabled us to expand our digital offering by creating a dedicated blog page.
A number of elite and elite-potential players and their families have also been supported with mentorship and access to development opportunities off the pitch.
Earlier this year, Sky Sports also partnered with the country’s largest sports racing equality charity, Sporting Equals, which saw us supporting participation across the country, including designing the event ” Seeing Is Believing” for century-old west London sports club Gymkhana.
British South Asians in football
For more stories, features and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on skysports.com and the South Asians in the Game blog and stay tuned to Sky Sports News and our Sky Sports digital platforms.