Saturday 21 April 2018

Lasses Show Support for Amnesty International

SUNDERLAND AFC LADIES TO MARK CONTRIBUTION REFUGEES HAVE MADE TO FOOTBALL THIS WEEKEND

Sunderland AFC Ladies will be joining football clubs across the country this weekend (21-22 April) to celebrate the contribution refugee players make to the beautiful game, as part of Amnesty International’s Football Welcomes initiative.

Football Welcomes, a weekend of action now in its second year, highlights the role of refugee players in UK football - from a group of Spanish Civil War child refugees who sailed from Bilbao to Southampton in May 1937 and went on to play professionally here in the 1940s and 50s, to the likes of Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri and Manchester City Women’s Nadia Nadim today.

Supported by a range of Premier League clubs, the English Football League and the FA Women’s Super League, as well as grassroots and non-league teams, Football Welcomes also aims to highlight the important role football clubs can play in welcoming refugees and promoting integration.

General Manager Sonia Kulkarni said “Sunderland AFC Ladies are proud to be associated with Amnesty International's Football Welcomes Initiative. Sunderland recognise the need for inclusion of all, regardless of race, religion, gender or creed and believe that football is for all. Many other clubs around the country will be taking part in the Football Welcomes weekend - giving free tickets to a match for refugees and people seeking asylum living locally, arranging player visits or stadium tours, or organising a match or tournament for refugees and asylum seekers in their community programmes.

Naomi Westland, Football Welcomes Manager at Amnesty International UK said: “We are delighted Sunderland AFC Ladies are taking part in Football Welcomes 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.

“Violence and persecution around the world are forcing people to flee their homes and look for safety in communities elsewhere, and a small number make it to the UK. 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.

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