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‘Football welcomes’ – A celebration of the contribution refugees make to football in the UK

15 April 2019

Amnesty International UK is inviting football clubs to take part in its third Football Welcomes weekend of action, on April 27 and 28 2019, to celebrate the contribution refugees make to the game.

The first Football Welcomes weekend took place in April 2017, on the 80thanniversary of the arrival in the UK of a group of child refugees from the Spanish Civil War who went on to become some of the first refugees to play professional football here. Players whose families have had to flee conflict and persecution have been making their mark on the game ever since.

In 2018, the number of clubs participating in the weekend doubled to 60, including over half the Premier League and teams from across the FA Women’s Super League, the Scottish Premiership and the English Football League, as well as grassroots clubs. Please join us in making it even bigger in 2019!

 There are lots of things clubs and foundations/community trusts can do to take part. Here are some examples:

  • Organise a match or tournament for refugees and people seeking asylum and others living locally
  • Offer free tickets for refugees and asylum seekers to attend a game
  • Invite refugees to make up the guard of honour welcoming the first team players onto the pitch before kick-off, or to be mascots
  • Organise a stadium tour
  • Encourage players to be spokespeople, including players with a refugee background
  • Post about your support for the weekend on social media – some clubs made their own videos - and invite local media to any events
  • Publish an article in your match day programme and on your website any work you’re already doing with refugees and people seeking asylum
  • Use Amnesty UK’s school resource in your sessions in primary schools to talk about the role of football in bringing people together and in helping those who have arrived recently to settle into a new country and culture

To see who did what in 2018, have a look here: 

Football Welcomes comes under Amnesty UK’s I Welcome campaign, which calls for a better international response to the refugee crisis and encourages local communities to work together to create a more welcoming environment for refugees and people seeking asylum. With football clubs at the heart of so many communities across the UK, and with football’s unique power to bring people together, they can play a key role in helping to make people feel welcome, to settle in to new country and in promoting integration and inclusion.

We’d love clubs of all levels across the UK to take part, including those that have or have had refugee players in their teams and those that are running, or would like to run, projects to support refugees. We will co-ordinate national media work and provide clubs a template press release for local media, template copy for programmes and websites, and social media graphics.

For more information, please contact: 020 7033 6414 / 07932 995 023

‘Football welcomes’ – A celebration of the contribution refugees make to football in the UK