The EFL is supporting Amnesty International UK and is inviting clubs to take part in ‘Football Welcomes’ to mark the 80th anniversary of the arrival of some of the first refugees since World War 2 to play professional football in the UK.
The aim is to celebrate the contribution refugees made and continue to make to the game and highlight the role of football clubs in promoting community cohesion.
The date for Football Welcomes is the weekend of 22/23 April 2017. The activity will act as a pre-cursor to the EFL’s Community Day of Action on Tuesday 25 April.
In May 1937 over 4,000 unaccompanied children arrived in Southampton by boat from Bilbao, escaping the Spanish Civil War. Six of them, Emilio Aldecoa, Sabin Barinaga, Joe Bilbao, Raimundo Perez
Lezama and brothers Jose and Antonio Gallego, went on to play for Southampton, Coventry City, Wolves, Brentford, Norwich, Colchester United and Cambridge United between them.
Since their contribution to the game, there have been numerous other footballers with refugee backgrounds playing professional football in the UK, something Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren, Stoke City's Saido Berahino and former Newcastle United and Portsmouth striker Tresor LuaLua have all spoken openly about.