British Asians plan delayed by FA as it seeks further talks

By Mandeep SangheraBBC Sport
Blackpool striker Michael Chopra (left), Swansea left-back Neil Taylor (second left), Wolves centre-back Danny Batth (second right) and Walsall left-back Malvind Benning (right)

The Football Association has delayed publication of its plan aimed at increasing the number of British Asians in the English game.

Publication was scheduled for the end of 2013, but put back to late March and is now likely to miss that target.

The FA said it had been "working extensively with relevant community and football stakeholders".

The plan was "gathering pace" but more discussions with "key groups and individuals" were needed, it added.

The ultimate aim of the Asians in Football plan is to increase the number of homegrown Asians playing and coaching at both grassroots level and in the professional game.

There are currently only eight homegrown Asian players with professional deals across England's top four divisions.

Just four of those - Swansea left-back Neil Taylor, Blackpool striker Michael Chopra, Wolves centre-back Danny Batth and Walsall left-back Malvind Benning - are first-team players.

English football's governing body said it wanted to hold more discussions with "diverse grassroots clubs, county FAs, academics, community organisations and governing bodies" among others.

While the plan is being finalised, the FA said initiatives to address the issue were still taking place.

"Positive work has taken place this season, with two Asians in Football talent ID best practice days delivered to over 100 Asian coaches and three community development centres currently delivering coaching opportunities to young Asian players," it said.