Southampton welcomed a group of refugees from the city to their Premier League match against Hull last weekend, as part of Amnesty International’s Football Welcomes initiative.
Saints joined up with the CLEAR project, which offers advice, information and guidance on employment for refugees and asylum seekers, to distribute free tickets for the game.
Football Welcomes was a weekend of action that marked the 80th anniversary of the arrival in the UK of some of the first refugees to play professional football here. They were child refugees from the Spanish Civil War, who were evacuated to the UK after the bombing of Guernica on 26th April 1937.
Three Spanish Civil War refugee footballers played for Saints – Sabin Barinaga (1938-39), Raimundo Perez Lezama (1939-40) and Jose Gallego (1948-50).
Supported by a range of Premier League clubs, the Football League and the FA Women’s Super League, Football Welcomes also highlighted the important role clubs can play in promoting community cohesion.
The initiative was part of Amnesty International’s ‘I Welcome’ campaign for a better international response to the global refugee crisis. The campaign encourages local communities to work together to create a more welcoming environment for people fleeing conflict and persecution.