The Zesh Rehman Foundation has joined forces with Crystal Palace FC to help change the perceptions and myths surrounding Asians in football.
The partnership has launched the Football for All programme to offer opportunities to aspiring footballers and coaches to develop their skills through coaching clinics and courses, soccer schools and volunteer placements.
Sessions have been deliberately scheduled to take place on Friday nights in Croydon to prevent potential anti-social behaviour fuelled by boredom which heavily affected the area during last August’s London riots.
As well as providing a safe environment to play football the programme will give participants an accredited training package with workshops to address social issues such as youth crime, anti-social behaviour, substance misuse, equality and diversity and conflict resolution.
The partnership was born following the recent Audience with Zesh Rehman, which took place at Selhurst Park. The event addressed a range of issues including social inclusion, how to break down barriers and the future for British Asians in football.
Former Fulham and QPR star Zesh Rehman, who set up the foundation in 2010 to address social inclusion as well as helping more Asian youngsters into football, said: “My career has given me an insight into the understanding of the role that football has to play in inspiring young people, raising aspirations and achievements, and tackling a range of social issues such as racism, youth crime and educational under-achievement though the work of clubs, community groups and the wider football family.
“This project with Crystal Palace will hopefully inspire more young people to take up the game, create community role models and inspire future coaches.”
Colin Morris, chief executive of the Crystal Palace FC Foundation added: “We are a community based club and want to appeal to all communities – we don’t have enough Asian or BME groups employed or working voluntarily at the club and this project will help to address this.”
The sessions, run by ZRF staff, take place every Friday, at the Canterbury Road Recreation Ground, Canterbury Road, Croydon, from 8-10pm.
Tags: Community, Community Matters, Crystal Palace, Kick It Out, Zesh Rehman, Zesh Rehman Foundation