Notts County Football in the Community (FITC) is proud to be participating in Amnesty’s Football Welcomes initiative this weekend (21st-22nd April) to celebrate the contribution refugee players make to the beautiful game.
From a group of Spanish Civil War child refugees who sailed from Bilbao to safety in Southampton in May 1937 to the likes of Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri and Manchester City Women’s Nadia Nadim, footballers with a refugee background have been making their mark on the most popular game in the world for decades.
For many refugee players, football helped them adjust to a new country and culture and as they and their families rebuilt their lives in safety. Supported by a range of Premier League clubs, the EFL, the FA Women’s Super League, and a number of non-league and grassroots teams, Football Welcomes also highlights the role clubs can play in welcoming refugees and asylum seekers and promoting integration.
As part of the initiative, FITC will welcome a group of refugees to Meadow Lane for a ground tour on Friday with Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry also attending the event.
In addition, FITC is giving free tickets to refugees and asylum seekers for Saturday’s fixture against Yeovil Town. Many other clubs around the country will be taking part in the Football Welcomes weekend organising similar events.
FITC is proud to be one of a number of community trusts across the country running regular football sessions for refugees and people seeking asylum. We currently deliver 3 sessions a week at:
- Nottingham College, Maid Marian Way (Mondays, 4pm – 6pm)
- John Carroll Leisure Centre, Radford (Thursdays, 5pm – 6.30pm)
- Portland Centre, Meadows (Fridays, 3.30pm – 5.30pm)
Last year FITC’s session at John Carroll was attended by official Amnesty ambassadors, Kaiser Chiefs alongside Notts County’s Manager Kevin Nolan and Assistant Manager Richard Thomas.
Naomi Westland, Football Welcomes Manager at Amnesty International UK, said: “We are delighted Notts County Football in the Community is taking part in Football Welcomes again this year. With so many clubs across the country participating, the message from football is clear – refugees are welcome in the UK.
“At a time when hate-filled rhetoric so often fills our newspapers and social media timelines, this shows that there is another story to be told.
“Football can give people a sense of purpose and belonging, and football clubs are at the heart of our towns and cities and have an important role to play in welcoming refugees and helping to promote respect, understanding and integration.”
Football Welcomes is part of Amnesty International’s I Welcome campaign for a better international response to the global refugee crisis.The campaign encourages local communities to work together to create a more welcoming environment for people fleeing conflict and persecution.
To find out more visit www.amnesty.org.uk/footballwelcomes