PA Sport

Hull and other clubs involved in Football Welcomes activities this weekend

Hull and other clubs involved in Football Welcomes activities this weekend
By PA Sport

20/04/2017 at 13:29Updated 20/04/2017 at 13:39

Hull will be one of more than 20 English clubs showing solidarity and support for refugees in the UK this weekend as part of Amnesty International's Football Welcomes initiative.

Football Welcomes, a weekend of activities supported by a range of Premier League clubs, the English Football League and the FA Women's Super League, marks the 80th anniversary of the arrival in the UK of some of the first refugees to play professional football here.

Hull are organising a game for refugees participating in its community scheme before their home game against Watford on Saturday and are offering them free tickets for the match.

"The Premier League is pleased to see a good number of our clubs supporting Football Welcomes, an initiative designed to break down barriers to integration and help new communities settle in England and Wales," said Premier League director of communications Dan Johnson.

"Premier League football is known for its ability to help people from all walks of life connect as well as being a force for good in clubs' local areas.

"The cosmopolitan nature and make-up of our clubs, players and fans has also helped a range of equalities and inclusion issues and we will continue to promote these important agendas."

The first refugees to arrive in the UK who went on to become professional footballers were those from the Spanish Civil War, evacuated to the UK after the bombing of Guernica in 1937.

Emilio Aldecoa (Wolves and Coventry), Jose Bilbao (Coventry), Sabin Barinaga and Raimundo Perez Lezama (both Southampton), Antonio Gallego (Norwich) and Jose Gallego (Brentford, Southampton, Colchester and Cambridge) were among the first to play in the English League.

More recently, Stoke's Saido Berahino, Gael Bigirimana (Coventry), former Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba, Arsenal's Granit Xhaka, Valon Behrami (Watford) and Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren are former refugees who have all made their mark on the English game.