More than 160 clubs to take part in Football Welcomes weekend for refugees

A record number of clubs in Britain will take part in Amnesty’s Football Welcomes this weekend to celebrate the contribution refugees make to the game.

More than 160 – almost triple the number who were involved in 2018 – have signed up for the third year of the initiative, in which free match tickets will be distributed to refugees and people seeking asylum as well as clubs helping to organise tournaments for refugees in their communities. Others will have first- team players warming up in Football Welcomes T-shirts and promote the weekend in their programmes and on their websites.

“It’s clear that football is a powerful force for good, bringing people together and providing a sense of belonging, and we are delighted that more clubs than ever are taking part in Football Welcomes this year,” said Amnesty’s Naomi Westland. “Across the country football clubs are doing great work in their communities to show there is more that unites us than divides us. Football clubs are at the heart of their communities and can play an important role in creating respect and friendship across cultures.

“With so many people across the globe forced to abandon their homes due to conflict and persecution, this weekend the message from football is clear: refugees are welcome in the UK.”

Shaun Harvey, chief executive of the English Football League, added: “Football Welcomes highlights the vital role football and our 72 clubs can play in bringing their communities together. Refugees have made a significant and lasting contribution to professional football in this country and we are proud to support this important initiative to celebrate the impact they have had on the game, whilst also making local refugees and people seeking asylum feel welcome at EFL matches.”