|Type of paper:
|Race Discrimination Sport Strategic marketing
There have been several studies that have devoted significant awareness of the differences or challenges associated with British Asian groups across generational, geographical, cultural, and religious lines (Kilvington 2019). However, little is known about how the political, social, and economic factors have limited the proportion of British Asian footballers in the English Premier League (Tarnanidis et al. 2020). About six years ago, the Football Association outlined its intention to establish a strategy or a plan to assist British Asians to join or make an impact on the English premier leagues (Kilvington 2019). The Football Association's plan to bring opportunities to British Asian communities was initially published in 2015 and later updated earlier in 2020 (Tarnanidis et al. 2020). Its main aim was to increase the number of British Asians at the grassroots level in both coaching and playing capacity with the hope and belief that they filter up the pyramid on a more regular basis. However, at the highest level of the game, this has not yet been done. The 2018-2019 season ended with only four British players of South Asian origin (including Bangladeshi, Indian or Pakistani,) having played in the Premier League (Kilvington 2019). (Including Zesh Rehman, Hamza Choudhury, Michael Chopra, and Neil Taylor). This research proposal looks in detail at how the political, social, and economic factors have limited the proportion of British Asian footballers in the English Premier League.
- To identify the political, social and economic factors affecting sport and how they have limited the proportion of British Asian footballers in English Premier League
- To present a holistic summary of literature which critically examines the exclusion of British Asian footballers
- To utilize the existing research to highlight neglected communities and environments which are worthy of further study
- To use secondary and primary analysis to showcase how exclusionary limitations are affecting British Asian communities
- To work on recently obtained primary research to shape recommendations for improvement and increase the proportion of British Asians in football
- Two decades of study have been carried out on this very topic, but very little has improved as representation is still very minimal in the premier league level.
- What is being done by principal stakeholders to battle this issue?
- What additional recommendations and practices to be made to enhance diversity and challenge discrimination?
Asians form 8% of the country's population; however, there are only 12 professional players in the premier league who are Asians in a total of 3700 professional players in the United Kingdom; therefore, 0.3% of British footballers are Asian (Halder 2019). Although Asian communities have been playing football for years, only a few success stories have been witnessed within the premier league of professional football. It might be due to the elite level visibility being minimal, and embedded stereotypes remain (Halder 2019). For instance, football might be unpopular, some religious practices may outweigh sport, and others argue that physical games are not suited to the Asian frame, or maybe parents prioritize education (Halder 2019).
Until 1996, no one had provided a concrete explanation to this simplistic and essentialist argument, in their study titled Asians Can't Play football. Bains and Pate tried to explore this phenomenon by applying a multi-disciplinary approach to identify the barriers or challenges faced by Asian footballers (Kilvington 2019). In their findings, they suggested that football in predominantly Asian heritage environments was underdeveloped. They also found that football insiders tend to culturally and physically stereotype British Asian players, again there was a traditional culture in the British Asian heritage that did not emphasize on youth football. In his study, Kilvington 92019) noted that the strategies used for player recruitment naturally discriminated against Asian heritage players. In many cases, Kilvington (2019) has carried out comprehensive studies that are a wealth of empirical data and assisted on the kick start the Asians in football reform and movement.
Cultural difference is another central factor that limited the number of British Asian football players in the premier league. A study by Bush et al. (2017) noted that British Asians encounter heightened or additional barriers in comparison to black players, which form the second largest minority ethnic group in Britain's population after Asian, which is the first largest minority ethnic group. They also found that British Asian football communities preferred playing in their segregationist environments; Bush et al. (2017) therefore recommended that since it should not be solely the responsibility of key stakeholders to reach out to all British Asian communities. The Asian communities should change to integrate within football and abandon some of their cultural practices that might not favour the culture of football.
The research was later reinforced by (Tarnanidis et al. 2020), who noted that British Asian football inhabitants did not initially set out to build separatist football environments. They proposed that many British Asians footballer tried to join white clubs in the 1960s and 1970s; however, they were faced with a non-welcoming exclusionary policy, with several being physically and verbally assaulted. Football clubs are famous for their cliquey-ness, and if an individual does not hold the correct cultural and social and capital, it is challenging to gain access and recognition within existing social networks Kilvington (, 2019).
In a study on the exclusion of British Asians in the football industry, Kilvington (2016) found that these capitals function as a form of social influence which guides participators towards the social conditions adjusted to their properties, and towards the systems which suit the occupants of that position. Thus, to participate in the sport, British Asians had limited options but to build their own structures (Kilvington 2019). They decided to take these developments to protect themselves from racial abuse or discrimination while still participating in the sport (Kilvington 2019). For instance, they came up with the Asian Premier League (APL), previously known as the Asian Football League (AFL), and were later merged with the mainstream East London Football League (Bush et al. 2017).
Although the all-Asian leagues were built as short term solutions to prevent or avoid racial discrimination, all-Asian league teams and competitions were being played outside the radar of recruiters (Fletcher and Walle 2015). Therefore, they have been faced with prolonged exclusion. There are diverse reasons concerning why talent identification systems, mostly built on networks of white knowledge, have categorically and consistently overlooked all-Asian football spaces (Fletcher and Walle 2015). Usually, professional clubs tend to recruit their players from a small selection of established inexperienced leagues and unusually extend their views or observations beyond such associations (Fletcher and Walle 2015). Secondly, amateur leagues are considered to constitute low standards of football. The third reason is that most all-Asian leagues are believed to be adult-dominated and that their players are past the golden age of learning (Fletcher and Walle 2015).
In his study on the actions the Football Association should take to reform the British Asian Football, Kilvington (2019) adopted a CRT viewpoint as its five principles help researchers narrow on the all-encompassing web of the race to facilitate the understanding of discrimination or inequality. He suggested that this system can be useful in investigating the racism in society; racism has adversely limited the proportion of Asian football players joining the premier league. He concentrated on British Asian views and opinions to highlight and analyse the racisms that exist or that are faced be players within player recruitment. The oral statements of some of the players show that they are regularly overlooked and culturally and are physically stereotyped among recruiters.
The idea that they have been two or three times better than other individuals on the pitch was commonly encountered and felt by many British Asian football players (Saeed and Kilvington 2011). British Asian scouts and coaches revealed their belief that most of the players were still being unfairly judged. The couches also said that in most cases, the player is stereotyped, one participant suggested that players from South Asian heritage are still considered a gamble amongst goalkeepers (Saeed and Kilvington 2011; Panton 2020). Although it is very hard to prove and challenge this invisible, hidden, and embedded racism yet, Kilvington (2019) concluded his study by suggesting several reform strategies to battle these inequalities.
Despite football association attempts to improve and protect its meritocratic ideological myth, racism has been experienced and encountered by most of the British Asian football players and communities as a whole (Burdsey & Randhawa 2012). Most of the players have been discriminated against and prevented from recruitment in the premier league; a one size fits all approach to the British Asian players' exclusion is ill-advised (Burdsey and Randhawa 2012). There have been several studies that have devoted significant awareness of the differences or challenges associated with British Asian groups across generational, geographical, cultural, and religious lines. By applying a triangulation of methods, Ratna (2014) research identified the differences and similarities that exist between British Asian football communities residing in Leicester, London, and Bradford. Unfortunately, most of these communities had faced related experiences, including overt racism (Ratna 2014).
However, it was discovered that Leicester's all-Asian football clubs were prominently better developed at the youth level as compared to those in Bradford (Kilvington 2019). Henceforth, studies, and recommendations put forward should address these differences and complexities (Turksoy 2019). The reform policies must not essentialist or homogenize the singular Asian football player experience. Several debates and academic investigations have resulted in a relatively large and comprehensive body of work on the British Asian soccer exclusion (Burdsey and Randhawa 2012). Yet, the research is male-dominated as few scholars have critically explored the Economic, Political, Social factors that limit the proportion of Asian footballers in Premier Kilvington (2019).
Although some researchers are claiming that overt racism is a more significant problem within the northern England and Midlands, as opposed to Football in London, many other factors limit the advancement of British Asian Football in England as a whole (Ratna 2011). The grassroots clubs have inadequate funds and resources to help in training; this has been one of the reasons as to why All-Asian clubs luck professional or skilled players (Ratna 2011). Racist practices have limited the talent identification process; professional clubs continue to ignore British Asian football talent (Seiberth et al. 2019). There has been a lack of opportunities at the grassroots youth level within predominantly British Asian environments, particularly across northern England. Many 'all-Asian' clubs were established in Leicester in the 1960s and 1970s; this has seen Leicester decades ahead of Bradford. Bradford is catching up, and clubs like Bradford Horton Sports and Shapla FC have recently begun, providing much need youth preparation for aspiring players.
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