Aston Villa defender Anita Asante believes football should “cast a wider net” when it comes to finding players from ethnic minorities.
With Demi Stokes injured and Nikita Parris unavailable for selection due to Covid-19 protocols, Bristol City striker Ebony Salmon was the only non-white player on the England squad for their 6-0 win over Ireland North Tuesday.
And as of June 2020, only 10-15% of players in the Women’s Super League were black – far less than in the top men’s tier, where black footballers make up around a third of all players.
Sure The women’s football show, host Jessica Creighton asked Asante, “Are black girls being left behind?”
Asante responded, “The FA has now recognized that this is a problem and we need to provide better access points for girls from disadvantaged groups who are not getting the same level of resources and access to play.
“Really, that’s the problem.
“We know they’re over there.
“We have to find the right paths that will channel them into talent pools and elite programs that will take them to the top level of the game, because we want to see a more diverse game that brings a lot of different qualities to this England. group in the future. “
The FA introduced its “Code of Leadership Diversity” at the start of this season, which aimed to tackle inequalities between leadership positions.
This code focused on hiring leaders and coaches, with specific goals set. For example, in professional women’s clubs, “15% of new coaches will be Blacks, Asians, or Mixed Legacies.”
However, Asante, who won 71 caps for England, said there should be an active effort in the game to increase the diversity and inclusion of young players too – regardless of race, gender, disability or sexuality.
The 35-year-old said: “Football is meant to be the barrier-breaker that brings communities and people together, so football ultimately has to cast a wider net on an intersection of society and at the moment it doesn’t. was not able to do this.
“It’s probably time to take a look at the systems we have in place and say, ‘where are the gaps? “
“Where can we learn and improve and start redirecting real energy to draw black and Asian ethnic minority groups into the game?
“Because we know they are there and that will only expand the talent pool throughout the game.”
You can watch the full interview on a repeat of the Women’s Football Show Sunday at 9 a.m. on Sky Sports Football, or Sunday at 10 a.m. on Sky Sports Mix.