Bradford City captain, Zesh Rehman

Bradford City captain Zesh Rehman has launched his own football foundation hoping to attract more young Asians into the game.

Twenty-six year old defender and Bradford City captain Zesh Rehman has launched his own football foundation in the hope of attracting more Asians into the sport.

Rehman, who became the first Asian footballer to play in the Premier League in 2004 when he played for Fulham wants Asians to get involved in football as well as other levels within the sport such as groundsman, public relations, media and referee etc.

Bradford City’s chairman Mark Lawn admitted that the participation of Asians in football has been very slow and one of the reasons cited for this factor is racism.

According to Kick It Out, a body founded in 1997 as part of the Let’s Kick Racism Out Of Football campaign, although thousands of Asians play and watch football there are only 7 Asian players in professional football and 10 Asian players at Premier League club academies.

Kick It Out said, “Within the Asian community there continues to be a feeling that Asian players have been marginalised by the game for far too long.”

Despite this there is a vibrant Asian football league providing young Asian footballers a chance to progress to the top levels. Teams such as London APSA and Sporting Bengal, which became the first Asian clubs to play in the FA Cup in 2005; and Albion Sports Club from Bradford who reached the nationwide FA Sunday Cup Final twice.

Rehman is trying to make a difference and hopefully in the future there shall be more British Asian footballers playing for top clubs.

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