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Football: London clubs to take part in ‘Football Welcomes’

PUBLISHED: 00:01 20 April 2018

The football season is approaching the latter stages of the season (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

The football season is approaching the latter stages of the season (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo).

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Arsenal, Queens Park Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United are among 14 London clubs taking part in Amnesty International UK’s second ‘Football Welcomes initiative this weekend’.

Sixty clubs in total from across the country, along with celebrity fans, will participate in the weekend of activities, which kicks off on Saturday.

The event took place for the first time last April, on the 80th anniversary 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 in the UK.

This year, twice the number of clubs are taking part, including 12 in the English Premier League, as well as teams from the FA Women’s Super League, the Scottish Premiership, the English Football League, and non-league and grassroots clubs all over the country.

Some of the initiatives the clubs are taking part in include inviting refugees to a game or organising a stadium tour, player visit, match or tournament for refugees and asylum seekers.

Before the London derby between Brentford and QPR on Saturday, the two clubs will be holding a match for refugee participants in their community programmes.

The group will all go to game together, where they will be the guard of honour wearing Amnesty t-shirts saying ‘Football Welcomes Refugees’ as the players come onto the pitch.

West Ham fan and actor Keira Knightley said: “It’s great to see women’s teams taking part in Amnesty’s brilliant Football Welcomes initiative this year.

It can be much more difficult for girls and women to access and participate in sport and this sends a clear and important message that football is for everyone.

“I’m over the moon that the Hammers are joining so many other clubs to say ‘Refugees Welcome’ this weekend.”

Arsenal supporter and pop star Jordan Stephens added: “I’ve been an Arsenal fan since birth and am proud of my clubs’ history of community work and supporting refugees.

“’Football Welcomes’ is a really easy, but important way of showing that refugees are welcome in this country.”

For more information about Football Welcomes, visit amnesty.org.uk.

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