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U's join Amnesty’s Football Welcomes campaign to welcome refugees

6 April 2023

Sutton United will welcome locally based Refugees & Migrants to our game against Stockport County on Friday  as we join football clubs across the country in April to welcome refugees and people seeking asylum, as part of Amnesty International’s Football Welcomes campaign.

This year, Football Welcomes comes as the UK government prepares to enact its new immigration bill to permanently exclude people who seek asylum in the UK from receiving any protection here, and to mark the month, we will welcome nearly 200 largely local Refugees & Migrants to Friday's game, largely from Ukraine and Hong Kong but also from mainland China, Sri Lanka and Turkey, through the club's Hong Kong contacts and also the Sutton Migrant & Refugee Network. 

Bobby Childs, head of the Sutton United Foundation, said: ''We are pleased to be supporting Amnesty’s Football Welcomes this April. The work of the football club in the local Community is about bringing people together and there’s not much that can compare to football in providing a common language in which people can communicate.

Feeling connected to your local community is important for so many of us, I can only imagine how much more important it is if you’ve had to flee your home and leave everything behind. We just want to say to anyone in Sutton and the surrounding Boroughs who has come here as a migrant or refugee seeking asylum - you are and always will be welcome here.''
Sutton United is one of many clubs from across the Premier League, English Football League, FA Women’s Super League, Championship and National League, Cymru North and South, and grassroots teams that have signed up to take part in Football Welcomes. Participating clubs have hosted a range football-based events including training sessions, matches or stadium tours for refugees. Some clubs are incorporating learning about refugee rights in their work with schools, while others are helping to raise awareness online.  

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Naomi Westland, Head of Football Welcomes at Amnesty International UK, said:  “The UK immigration bill shines a light 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. It’s heartening to see clubs like Sutton United using football as a powerful force for good, bringing people together and a providing a sense of belonging. With the support from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, Amnesty will continue to welcome refugees alongside football clubs across the country to show there is more that unites us than divides us.” 


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