Chelsea Foundation to support Asian football festival

The Chelsea Foundation will continue to work alongside the Zesh Rehman Foundation (ZRF) this season, starting by supporting next month’s Asian Football Festival.

The free event takes place on Sunday 7 September at the Streatham-Croydon Rugby Club in Thornton Heath and aims to encourage more children to participate in grassroots football and subsequently find local junior clubs and activities, where they can play more regularly.

Children attending will be given the opportunity to learn from Chelsea Foundation coaches, who will support their ZRF counterparts who are part of the Premier League and Professional Footballers’ Association funded Sidelined-2-Sidelines (s2s) coaching programme.

The two Foundations also work closely on Chelsea’s Asian Star initiative, which will return for its seventh year in May, with coaches from the ZRF playing a key role on the day, while two participants from the unique Sidelined-2-Sidelines initiative now work regularly for the Chelsea Foundation.

ZRF founder and former Fulham defender Zesh, who has been an active ambassador for the Chelsea Asian Star event, said: ‘The Asian Football Festival is not a talent identification day or about giving talented Asian footballers the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of scouts from professional clubs. It is about the 100 per cent rather than the one per cent.

‘Chelsea’s Asian Star event has been a huge success over the past six years with a number of players gaining contracts at professional clubs but it is also key we deliver targeted programmes to empower under-represented groups to join mainstream teams.

‘More players represented at grassroots clubs will widen the opportunities for Asian players to be identified and recruited within development centres and academies.’

The Chelsea Foundation coaches will be present on the day to support delivery and promote the different inclusion programmes available to children across London via the Foundation.

The event in September will also be supported by Crystal Palace FC Foundation, Kick It Out, Surrey FA and the London FA.

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