British Asians, Covert Racism and Exclusion in English Professional Football
Keywords:‘Race’, racism, British Asian, exclusion, football
This article examines the exclusion of British Asians from English professional football. At present, there are eight British Asians with professional contracts out of over 4,000 players. This statistic is increasingly noteworthy when we consider that, first, football is extremely popular across British Asian groups and, second, Britain is home to over 4 million British Asians (the UK’s largest minority ethnic group). Following a brief introduction as well as a discussion of racisms, the work will provide an overview of the barriers that have excluded British Asian football communities from the professional ranks. In particular, I shall discuss some of the key obstacles including overt racism, ‘all-Asian’ football structures and cultural differences. However, the focus of this paper is to explore the impact and persist-ing nature of institutional racism within football. With the aid of oral testimonies, this work shall present British Asian experiences of covert racism in the game. I shall therefore demonstrate that coaches/scouts (as gatekeepers) have a tendency to stereotype and racialize British Asian footballers, thus exacerbating the British Asian football exclusion. Finally, the article will offer policy recommendations for reform. These recommendations, which have come out of primary and secondary research, aspire to challenge institutional racism and combat inequalities within the game.
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