Sir Patrick Stewart backs campaign celebrating refugees' contribution to football
It’s 80 years after a number of refugees arrived in the UK and went on to play professional football.
Actors Sir Patrick Stewart and Juliet Stevenson have teamed up with a number of football stars to celebrate the contribution refugees make to the sport.
The film stars join Leeds rockers Kaiser Chiefs to show their solidarity with those fleeing violence, 80 years after a number of refugees arrived in the UK and went on to play professional football.
The celebrities’ support comes after Stoke’s Saido Berahino, Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke and Watford’s Valon Behrami spoke about their experiences as refugees.
Huddersfield Town fan Sir Patrick said: “It’s wonderful to see the footballing community celebrate the contribution of refugees to the beautiful game, while at the same time helping create a more welcoming environment for people who have sought safety on these shores.
“I’m thrilled my club, Huddersfield Town AFC, are backing this fantastic Football Welcomes initiative.”
Juliet said: “We have a legal and moral obligation to protect people fleeing bombs, bullets and tyrants, and throughout history those people have enriched our society.
“It’s great to be celebrating the contribution refugees make to our communities, both on and off the pitch.”
Amnesty International UK’s Football Welcomes, which launches this weekend, will see more than 25 football clubs from across the UK back the cause by offering free tickets or holding tournaments for refugees in their communities.
It comes eight decades after a number of child refugees who fled to Britain during the Spanish civil war went on to play football in England for clubs including Southampton, Coventry City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Brentford and Norwich City.