We are proud to be supporting Amnesty UK’s Football Welcomes month, celebrating the contribution refugee players make to the game and the role football can play in creating more welcoming communities.
Football Welcomes began as a weekend of activities in 2017 with 30 clubs participating. By 2019, the number taking part reached almost 180, making it the biggest celebration of football and refugees the UK has ever seen.
This included over half the Premier League, two-thirds of English Football League clubs and almost all of the Women’s National League teams. It continues to grow year by year and is now celebrated throughout the month of April.
Now in its fifth year, Football Welcomes celebrates the contribution players from a refugee background make to the game and highlights the role football can play in bringing people together and creating more welcoming communities for refugees.
Football Welcomes this year coincides with the return of grassroots sport as lockdown rules ease, which provides a much-needed opportunity for people to reconnect with each other and their communities and to improve mental and physical health.
Some will organise a training session, a match or Soccercise classes for refugees, some will incorporate learning about refugee rights into their work in schools, while others will have first team players warming up in Football Welcomes t-shirts and help to raise awareness online.
Naomi Westland, Movement Building Manager at Amnesty International UK, said: “With the long-awaited return of outdoor activities, we are excited to see the commitment from the footballing community to come together and welcome refugees.
“Clubs and County FA’s are at the heart of their communities and football can be powerful force for good, bringing people together and a providing a sense of purpose and belonging. For those who’ve fled conflict and persecution and had to leave everything behind, this is incredibly important.
“It’s heartening to see football clubs across the country doing great work in their communities to show there is more that unites us than divides us.”
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