Uefa president Michel Platini has welcomed the launch of Chelsea’s Asian Star Programme, a trial open to players in the Under-9 to Under-12 age groups from Asian backgrounds.
The programme will take place at the West London club’s Cobham training ground and offers young players a chance to win a year-long place at the West London club’s Elite Training Centre.
Platini said: “Uefa welcomes the Chelsea FC Asian Star project as a means of addressing the glaring under-representation in football from the south Asian community and commend the club on their work. We wish the cub every success with this enterprise.
“We believe football should be open to all, there should be no barriers in the way to progress. Every player, coach or administrator should be nurtured and selected on the basis of merit and aptitude."
The Blues have been embroiled in racism controversy this season, with captain John Terry currently awaiting trial for having allegedly racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during a game in October.
However, Platini insists that Uefa are working hard to tackle the issue at grassroots level.
He continued: "Through our own work in social responsibility and that of our partners in the social inclusion field, the FARE network, we want to ensure that all minority communities have equal access to the game and that barriers to progress are removed."