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Why donít British Asians play football?

Wed 18th Sep 2013 | Football Industry Events

They do, and in ever greater numbers. Not only on the pitch, but off it, British Asians are making a huge contribution to the national game. And to prove it, Wembley Stadium is hosting the 2013 Asian Football Awards at a gala evening on Tuesday 8th October.

Players from the Premier League down to the vibrant amateur game, up-and-coming youngsters, coaches, media, behind-the-scenes staff and unsung heroes will be honoured at the awards, which this year form part of the Football Association’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

"We are delighted to support the second Asian Football Awards," said FA Chairman Greg Dyke. "Inclusiveness and promoting Football for Everyone, which is one of our strategic goals and runs through the National Game Strategy, is the blueprint for all of our work.

"Like the Asian Football Awards, we aim to work hand-in-hand with diverse communities to promote not only playing the game, but also improving the accessibility of the sport and the power it has to bring people and communities together."

The 2012 awards brought together representatives of clubs such as Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers, Ipswich Town, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic and Blackburn Rovers, as well as celebrities and dignitaries from across the sport. This year the 500 attendees can expect an even more star-studded event.

Among those nominated for AFA 2013 player awards are the Swansea City and Wales left-back Neil Taylor, highly rated youngsters Adil Nabi (West Brom) and Yan Dhanda (Liverpool), and Blackpool striker Michael Chopra. In a new category for south-east Asian players in the British game, Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Kim Bo-Kyung (Cardiff City) and Ki Sung-Yueng (Swansea City, currently on loan at Sunderland) are all in the running.

Off the field, Tottenham doctor Shabaaz Mughal, who helped save the life of Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba when the player collapsed during the FA Cup quarter-final in March 2012, and Liverpool medic Zaf Iqbal are also nominated for awards. Dr Iqbal is leading a campaign to have automatic electronic defibrillators (AED) present in all schools and public places.

The BBC will be hoping to retain their media award, won last year by Football League Show presenter Manish Bhasin, with Jason Mohammad and Reshmin Chowdury both in the running. The pair face stiff competition from reporters at Sky Sports, Football Exclusives and the London Evening Standard.

Candidates for the prestigious Development Project award include Chelsea FC’s ground-breaking Asian Star initiative, now in its fifth year, which is the first scheme of its kind ever undertaken by a professional football club and designed to give a much-needed boost to Asian participation at all levels of the game.

The Asian Football Awards (AFA) aim to improve the awareness of the positive impact made by Asians within the UK football industry and to engage with organisations and individuals to help increase participation levels.

AFA founder Baljit Rihal said: "I can proudly say that the Asian Football Awards has already encouraged more Asians to get involved in every aspect of the game, and will continue to do so. Our vision remains to support the growth of UK Asians in football.

"Since our inaugural event last year, the support from across the industry has been astonishing, but we are not just concerned with increasing Asian participation on the field. Our aim is also to help make the hierarchies of organisations that govern football more reflective of the society within which we live."

The hosts for the awards evening will be BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan and Sky Sports News presenter Dharmesh Sheth, while the judging panel includes representatives from The FA, The PFA and Kick It Out, as well as the chief executive officer of International Airlines Group, Willie Walsh, the BBC Sport presenter Manish Bhasin and Amit Bhatia, the vice-chairman of Queens Park Rangers FC.

The AFA are also continuing their engagement with grassroots football. In association with Goals Soccer Centres they hosted the first Asian nationwide five-a-side tournament – The AFA Trophy – throughout May and June, with more than 200 teams taking part.

The Awards have Goals Soccer Centres as their headline sponsor, and are also supported by The Football Association, Kick It Out, The Professional Footballers’ Association, Show Racism The Red Card and Sporting Equals.

List of nominees for Asian Football Awards 2013

PLAYER (Sponsored by GOALS Soccer Centres)

Danny Batth (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC)

Michael Chopra (Blackpool FC)

Neil Taylor (Swansea City FC and Wales)

YOUNG PLAYER (Sponsored by Sky Ex)

Jhai Dhillon (Stevenage FC)

Adil Nabi (West Bromwich Albion FC)

Malvind Benning (Walsall FC)

Josh Shama (Oxford United FC)

UP & COMING PLAYER (Sponsored by Pinder Reaux Solicitors)

Dylan Lall (Brighton & Hove Albion FC)

Samir Nabi (West Bromwich Albion FC)

Yan Dhanda (Liverpool FC)

SOUTH-EAST ASIAN PLAYER (Sponsored by Korea Foods)

Ki Sung-Yueng (Swansea City FC and South Korea)

Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United FC and Japan)

Kim Bo-Kyung (Cardiff City FC and South Korea)


Jey Siva (Wealdstone FC)

Jasbir Singh (Solihull Moors FC)

Adnan Ahmad (Droylsden FC)

Netan Sansara (Boston United FC)

Aman Verma (Stockport County FC)

MEDIA (Sponsored by fcbusiness Magazine)

Bobbie Chahal (Soccer AM - Sky Sports)

Reshmin Chowdhury (BBC Sports)

Jason Mohammad (BBC Sports)

Ravit Anand (Football Exclusives – non-League)

Amar Singh (Evening Standard)


Irfan Kawri (Wigan Athletic FC scout / coach / mentor)

Punjabi Wolves (Wolverhampton)

Kashif Siddiqi (Northampton Town FC / KSF Foundation, west London)

Sab Bham (Salaam Peace, east London)

Akeel Tahir (Manchester United Deaf Team)

ASIAN TEAM (Sponsored by Getty Images)

Albion Sports FC (Bradford)

FC Leytonstone (east London)

Indian Gymkhana FC (SSH) (west London)

Sporting Khalsa (West Midlands)

Mahal FC (Birmingham)

Khalsa Football Academy (Bedfordshire)

Sporting Bengal United (Mile End, east London)

Punjab United Wolves (Wolverhampton)


Mehrun Ahmed (Football Unites Racism Divides)

Saddiqa Shan (Coventry University)

Manisha Tailor (Coach / Brentford FC Scout & Rachel Yankey Football Programme)

Samana Fazel (All Sports Women)

Ayesha Abdeen (Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation)


Sangi Patel (Queens Park Rangers FC)

Shabaaz Mughal (Tottenham Hotspur FC)

Imran Alam (Clyde FC)

Zaf Iqbal (Liverpool FC)


Harj Hir (Leicester City FC)

Abu Nasir (Liverpool FC)

Naz Ali (Accrington Stanley FC)

Samir Singh (Arsenal FC)

COACH (Sponsored by Currencies 4 You)

Rehan Mirza (Pro-10 Soccer Academy, Nottinghamshire)

Judan Ali (Head of Elite Development - Chinese Taipei)

Pav Singh (Leeds United FC)

Kam Uppal (West Bromwich Albion FC)

Bal Singh (Khalsa Football Academy, Bedfordshire)

DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (Sponsored by borro)

Salaam Peace (east London)

Sport Esprit Academy

Chelsea Asian Star

Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation

Khalsa Football Federation

UNSUNG HERO (Sponsored by Shampan Group)

Butch Fazal (Chair National Asians in Football Forum)

Abdal Ullah (President Stepney FC, east London / founder of Safer Neighbourhood Tournament / councillor)

Resham Basra (Managed Guru Nanak Gurdwara team in Bedford)

Mesba Ahmad (London Tigers)

Mohammed Shahnawaz (Founder of Pakistan International 11 / FootballPakistan.com)

Posted by: Kev Howland

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