The chair of Kick It Out, Lord Herman Ouseley, offered his full backing to Chelsea Football Club's ground-breaking Asian Star programme this week.
Kick It Out works throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and work for positive change. The organisation has supported the Asian Star initiative since its inauguration four years ago.
Asian Star is the first scheme of its kind ever undertaken by a professional football club and is designed to give a much-needed boost to Asian participation at all levels of the game. Players will be judged on a series of matches and tests specifically designed and used by the Chelsea Academy to examine speed, skill and ability.
Lord Ouseley said: 'Football at all levels needs to reflect the communities in which we live and Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion campaign, is delighted to once again support the Chelsea Asian Star programme. The initiative is making a real difference by not only breaking down the barriers between the Asian community and football but by making real inroads into addressing the lack of Asian players at the top of the game.'
The Asian Star programme has already uncovered five potential stars of the future who went on to play for professional clubs' academies. This year the initiative offers players the chance to win a year-long place within the Chelsea FC Foundation's Elite Training Centre.
Applications are now open for Asian Star 2012, which takes place on Saturday 26 May at Chelsea's state-of-the-art training ground in Cobham for players in the Under-9 to Under-12 age groups. Applicants can simply click here to enter.
Chelsea will also be inviting managers, coaches and scouts from clubs at all levels of the game to identify talented youngsters and information will also be on hand for Asian players to find clubs in their area.