In 2017, why are there still a shortage of Asian footballers in British professional football? This is what the annual UK Asian Community Cup competition addresses by providing opportunities for talented Asian footballers to compete in a professional football stadium and show the world that this talent does exist.
The 14th annual UK Asian Community Cup final took place at Crystal Palace FC on Thursday 18th May 2017. Last year’s champions, FC Bengal returned to battle against newcomers GNG Leicester and win 3-2. They received their Cup from sponsor Zakir Khan, Associate Director of Canary Wharf Group Plc and Mesba Ahmed, CEO of London Tigers.
“This event exemplifies what London Tigers is about – creating opportunities for disadvantaged communities to fulfil their dreams,” said Mesba. “It breaks down barriers and gives Asians an amazing experience and the idea that professional football is a possibility. Thank you to Crystal Palace FC for hosting us and to Canary Wharf Group Plc for their continuous support over the years, to all our staff and volunteers who worked hard to make this event a success.”
Asians make up 7.5% of the population according to the 2011 census, and yet there are only a handful of British-born Asian players with professional football contracts in the country. The UK Asian Community Cup by London Tigers ties in with the Football Association’s ‘Bringing Opportunities to Communities’ strategy to tackle this issue.
The UK Asian Community Cup has teams from across the UK participating. The event addresses the lack of Asians in football by increasing participation from Asians, providing them a pathway to professional football and the experience of playing in a professional stadium. Previous finals have been held at West Ham United FC, Chelsea FC and QPR FC.