Football Welcomes: Clubs to celebrate contribution refugees have made to football - 22/23 April

Date marks 80th anniversary of arrival in UK of some of the first refugees to play professional football here, after bombing of Guernica during Spanish Civil War

Football clubs across the country will be taking part in a weekend of action next month to celebrate the contribution refugees have made to the professional game since the Second World War.

‘Football Welcomes’, a new Amnesty International initiative supported by a range of Premier League clubs, the English Football League and the FA Women’s Super League, will take place on 22 and 23 April, ahead of the 80th anniversary of the arrival in the UK of some of the first refugees to play professional football here - Emilio Aldecoa, Sabin Barinaga, José Bilbao, Raimundo Pérez Lezama, and brothers José and Antonio Gallego. They were unaccompanied child refugees from the Spanish Civil War, evacuated to the UK after the bombing of Guernica on 26 April 1937.

Clubs will organise various activities over the weekend, from offering free tickets to a game for refugees living locally, to putting on a tournament for refugees participating in their community programmes, to arranging a player visit to a community group working with refugees.

‘Football Welcomes’ is part of Amnesty UK’s I Welcome campaign for a better international response to the global refugee crisis. The campaign launched in September and has a focus on local activities to promote community cohesion and solidarity with people who have fled conflict and persecution.


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