Asian Inclusion

Support For Asian Players

Create, leverage and grow the networks

While players remain the primary focus, strong links with key stakeholders and practitioners are crucial in helping raise awareness and help move the whole industry towards a common goal.

Football’s stakeholders have supported the PFA’s strategy, and the players’ union continues to work closely with them on a wide variety of initiatives.

The PFA has also established a practitioner network, helping provide further guidance and advice to players and their families. This network allows practitioners to share their experiences and showcase a wide range of pathways within football.

Identifying careers

Dr Zafar Iqbal Head of Sports Medicine, Crystal Palace FC

“The PFA’s ground-breaking South Asian Inclusion Strategy has been vital in encouraging and supporting South Asians across all sectors of football.

As well as players, the scheme aims to highlight those working behind the scenes making them more visible and approachable. Hopefully, this will encourage others who wish to follow similar career pathways.

Leveraging those who have had similar journeys gives great guidance to help others achieve their aspirations.

This has been brilliantly led by Riz Rehman who has brought together so many people that have all had very positive experiences.”

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Mark Harrison, Academy Manager, Aston Villa

“Aston Villa Football Club are extremely proud to be aligning strategies with the PFA to help boost South Asian player representation within academy football.

Over the last 18 months we held positive talks with Riz Rehman and his team on ways we can further support the excellent work that is currently going on with the PFA’s Asian Inclusion Mentoring Scheme.

A scheme that Arjan Raikhy and other younger academy players from Aston Villa participate in. Birmingham is a highly diverse and multicultural city, and we believe it is important our Football Club represents this.”


Neil Saunders, Director of Football, Premier League

“The PFA’s Asian Inclusion Mentoring Scheme (AIMS) continues to engage and inspire the next generation of British South Asian players within Academies.

The programme provides players and their families with invaluable experiences and opportunities as part of a supportive network. This also aligns with the Premier League’s South Asian Action Plan, which seeks to enhance the talent pathway for British South Asian players within the Academy system.

AIMS is an integral part of a whole-game responsibility to ensure that football is inclusive and representative of our diverse society. We look forward to continuing our work with the PFA on this programme over the coming seasons.”

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