Where are the British Asian elite footballers?
As the UK's only organisation dedicated to promoting black and minority ethnic participation in sport and physical activity it's a question that Sporting Equals hoped to answer through a football partnership with the Tottenham Hotspur F.C Academy.
The project objective was to provide football opportunities for talented young football stars from the Asian community. A call for talent went out to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic a(BAME) community groups, faith centres, football and youth clubs. The programme was looking for promising Asian boys aged 14-16 to showcase their skills, with the potential prize of a trial at the Tottenham Hotspur F.C Academy.
From the initial applicants, 62 eventually became the final squad of 16 who travelled to Spur Lodge to take part in an integrated assessment with their counterparts from the Tottenham Hostpur F.C Academy.
The session kicked off with a demanding series of skill trials during which the visitors were paired up with Tottenham Hotspur F.C Academy players.
After a combined warm up session, the assessment included a series of short 4-a-side games (with teams made up of a mix of Tottenham F.C Hotspur Academy players and visitors) and then two 8-a-side games provided a test of pace, fitness, awareness and commitment.
By the end of the trial, Chris Ramsey Assistant Academy Manager and Head of Player Development had seen enough to invite back not just one but four of the Sporting Equals selection. ?I was very impressed,? acknowledged Ramsey.
?Especially given that you?ve just had these lads for six weeks. Of 16 good players, there were probably nine with an edge, and four I definitely want to see again.?
Tottenham Hostpur F.C continue to be a partner of Sporting Equals, look out for information about the next talent id programme in our events section.
The program was the culmination of a serious attempt to bring the sport that goes on in the BAME community into contact with mainstream elite football. The intention is that the experience of being on a level playing field with Tottenham Hotspur Academy F.C youth players will inspire them to pursue their sport further, and to encourage their friends, and families to do likewise.
Minister for Sport Gerry Sutcliffe said: "Sporting Equals is doing some fantastic work in encouraging people from ethnic minorities to play sport. The trials project with Tottenham Hotspur F.C is helping to uncover talented Asian footballers, giving them a chance to make the grade at the highest level and join the club's Academy. Football has the power to touch the lives of people from all backgrounds and I hope that the relationship between Sporting Equals and Spurs goes from strength to strength"
For the Tottenham F.C Hotspur development team, the programme has opened up another channel through which talented youngsters can be identified early. The club is keen to see the programme extended to the 8-12 year olds, and Sporting Equals is working towards this criteria for the next talent id programme with Tottenham Hostpur F.C
David Mbaziira, Head of Marketing and Communications at Sporting Equals said: ?The journey doesn't end here, this is the beginning. This group of 16 players now need to go back to their communities and friends, inspire others and tell them about the amazing six weeks they've experienced. "This has to become the norm, not the exception and we are working with Tottenham Hotspur F.C to make sure that we achieve this goal. Sporting Equals is here to help members of all BAME communities participate in all sports, not just football."
Sporting Equals are in the process of establishing partnerships with other premier league and football league clubs to extend the reach and scope of the talent id program.
Faith Centre Model
Sporting Equals are working with mosques, temples, gurdwaras, churches, synagogues across the country to try and access inactive communities and create models of engagement with work at a local level.
TENNIS SERVES PROJECT
Sporting Equals have been working in partnership with the Tennis Foundation to create opportunities locally enabling people to engage with tennis who would otherwise not access a club or local park to play tennis.
The Making Equals project works to engage and attract diverse young people through sport, break down barriers and empower them to make a difference locally.
Sporting Equals host Active Sport Zones at the large cultural events throughout the country. The Active Sports Zones allow people to get engaged with sporting activities giving them an opportunity to try something new and connecting them up to local opportunities.
The Albion Foundation officially launched a new partnership with Sporting Equals, the national body which promotes ethnic diversity across sport and physical activity.