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UK: Two thirds of football fans say Lineker should be allowed to speak up for refugees

Football clubs nationwide take part in Amnesty’s Football Welcomes month to celebrate the contribution refugees make to the game      

New survey reveals majority of football fans agree Lineker should be able to speak up in support of refugees

Over 60% of fans say that football can play a role to help refugees settle in a new country

‘We will not falter - across the country football clubs continue to show there is more that unites us than divides us’ - Naomi Westland

Amnesty International UK’s Football Welcomes is back for its sixth year with over 95 clubs taking part to celebrate the contribution players from a refugee background make to the game and highlight the role football can play in creating more welcoming communities for refugees.

This year, Football Welcomes comes as the UK government prepares to permanently disqualify people’s asylum claims en masse regardless of the strength of their case and dismal plans to house people seeking asylum on large barges. Amnesty says this will create significant obstacles, penalties and harms to people seeking asylum in the UK.

From Leicester City to Leeds United, Brighton and Hove Women to Birmingham City Women, and Stoke City to Sunderland, football clubs, community trusts, County FAs and others will be putting on events and activities to show their solidarity with refugees over the coming month.

A survey of 2,275 UK adults conducted by Amnesty shows the majority of football fans support Gary Lineker being able to speak up for refugees and are more likely to say football can help refugees integrate into communities. The results show:

  • 67% of football fans say that Gary Lineker should be allowed to express his views on the Government’s refugee policies publicly
  • When asked if football can play an important role in helping a refugee settle in a new country, 66% of football fans agreed

Naomi Westland, Amnesty International’s Head of Football Welcomes, said:

“These results show that football fans see their sport as a powerful force for good.

“We will not falter - across the country football clubs continue to show there is more that unites us than divides us.

With the immigration bill speeding through parliament, we know that more must be done to protect people who have fled conflict and persecution by creating more welcoming communities.  

“Now more than ever we need to show support to and solidarity with refugees and Football Welcomes is a great initiative to do this.    

“Amnesty will continue to welcome refugees alongside football clubs across the country to show the importance of welcoming refugees.”

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