CHELSEA star Eden Hazard was joined by Southall FC youngsters to mark the launch of the Blues' Asian Star initiative.

The winger took 20 British-Asian youngsters for a coaching session at Cobham on Thursday  before posing for photos and signing autographs to launch the ground-breaking scheme.

The event marked the launch of the sixth Asian Star programme, which is the first scheme of its kind undertaken by a professional football club and is designed to give a much-needed boost to Asian participation at all levels of the game.

“It’s great to be involved in the Asian Star programme as football is for everyone,” said Hazard.

“This has been a success for many years and gives dreams to children who might not have had chances like this before. 

“I was delighted to come and join these children as I know how important it is that the club give something back to the community and hopefully this has put a smile on their faces.”

Asian Star 2014 will take place on Monday, May 5 at Chelsea's training ground in Cobham with places available for players aged nine-12.

Participants will be judged on a series of matches and tests specifically designed and used by the Chelsea Academy to examine speed, skill and ability.

The Blues 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.

The Asian Star programme has already uncovered seven potential stars of the future who have gone on to play for professional clubs' academies, while winners in each age group are invited to join the Chelsea Foundation’s Football Development Centres.

Head of communications and community affairs, Emma Wilkinson, said: "Asian Star has been a huge success over the last five years and we hope the sixth will be the best yet.

"Over that time we’ve seen former winners go on to play for professional club academies and we hope many more have been inspired to take their football further.

"The scheme is all about fun, enjoyment and inspiration. It’s about showing that football is providing opportunities for players from all backgrounds and that the game is open to everyone."

Applications for this year's tournament are now open via or