The Asian Football Network (AFN) was created to tackle the numerous challenges facing the Asian football community, including under-representation, lack of opportunities, access to participation and pathways to affiliated and non-affiliated football.
The catalyst for the AFN was the absence of a platform for the Asian football community to enable and empower aspiring players, coaches, managers, teams, supporters and volunteers to access football through mainstream provision. Therefore the main aim of the AFN is to provide this much needed platform through the development of sustainable partnerships with county FAs, football clubs, funders and sports providers as well as a growing number of grassroots Asian football projects that are currently working in isolation.
The preliminary idea for the AFN led to the creation of the East London Forum. The first football open day was held in October 2003 and an inaugural forum meeting in February 2004. The East London Forum quickly established a network of key individuals and organisations involved in football in East London including Essex FA, Football in the Community schemes and most importantly, local grassroots Asian football projects. This network has begun to tackle a wide range of challenges through sharing ideas and examples of best practice as well as developing an arena to discuss key issues. A key objective of the Forum is to create sustainable opportunities and pathways in participation for marginalised communities at all levels of the game.
To summarise, the main aim of the AFN project is to establish greater equity and representation throughout the game, from clubs to governing bodies. This will be achieved by facilitating the development of sustainable grassroots football within Asian communities through:
- The development of local forums, to provide a visible interface with partners, creating opportunities and opening pathways at all levels of the game.
- The development of the AFN website to provide a voice for the Asian community within regard to football, sport and beyond.
- Working to create sustainable partnerships and networks with key stakeholders involved in football, sport, health and education.