Football Welcomes is in its third year and highlights the role of refugee players in football in the United Kingdom.
- Latics supporting Amnesty's Football Welcomes campaign.
- Football Welcomes highlights role of refugee players in UK football.
- The campaign is in its third year and backed by hundreds of teams.
Wigan Athletic is joining football clubs across the country this weekend to celebrate the contribution refugee players make to the game, as part of Amnesty International’s Football Welcomes campaign.
Football Welcomes, now in its third year, highlights the role of refugee players in UK football. From a group of children fleeing the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s who went on to become some of the first refugees to play professionally here, to the likes of former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba; ex-Manchester City forward Nadia Nadim; Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka; Dejan Lovren at Liverpool and Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke, players with a refugee background have been making their mark on the game for decades.
Samy Morsy, Latics captain, said: “Refugees have been through so much. After fleeing war and persecution in their home country they arrive in the UK to face a new language and culture. Wigan Athletic is once again proud to be supporting Amnesty International's Football Welcomes campaign, which gives people a chance to forget about their troubles for an hour or so, to make friends and feel part of the community.”
Backed by the EFL, a number of Premier League clubs; the FA Women’s Super League; the FA Women’s National League and grassroots and non-league teams across the country, Football Welcomes also aims to highlight the important role football clubs can play in welcoming refugees and people seeking asylum into their local communities, and in helping them to settle in to a new country and culture.
EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey said: “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.”
Many other clubs around the country will be giving free match tickets to 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, said: “We are delighted that Wigan Athletic is taking part in Football Welcomes. Football clubs are at the heart of their communities and it’s great to see teams across the UK using the international language of football to create connection, respect and friendship across cultures.
"With so many people across the globe forced to abandon their homes due to conflict and instability, it’s important that football clubs use their platform to send out a clear message: refugees are welcome here.”