In partnership with Amnesty International UK, we have today launched a guide and online training series which aims to increase refugee women’s participation in grassroots football.
The good-practice guide will support County FAs, coaches, clubs and their foundations in setting up football sessions aimed at helping refugee women and girls to better connect with their local communities.
It is an important step in our official partnership with Amnesty International UK, which began in 2019. As part of this, we fund a women's football officer role at Amnesty International UK, which focuses on using the power of football to welcome refugee women and girls and those seeking asylum into their local communities.
The guide and online webinar training series can be viewed and downloaded here.
Many clubs and organisations across the country run football sessions with refugees to support fitness and wellbeing, help them feel part of the local community and reduce social isolation. However, there’s recognition that more needs to be done to encourage refugee women and girls to take up the game and ensure they have the same opportunities to participate in football as men and boys.
The guide includes information on:
- How to get started
- Building trust
- Being inclusive
- Promoting health and wellbeing
- Role models and representation
Featuring case studies from Liverpool County FA, Leicester City in the Community, Aston Villa Foundation and many more, the guide has been developed as part of Amnesty International UK’s Football Welcomes programme, which highlights the important role football can play in creating communities more welcoming to refugees. In 2019, more than 170 football clubs across the UK took part in the Football Welcomes weekend.
Our director of women’s football, Baroness Sue Campbell, said: "We know that football has the unique ability to unite people and break down barriers while improving wellbeing. As English football’s governing body, our key priorities include increasing participation and ensuring the game is accessible for everybody, including all women and girls regardless of their age, background, or circumstances.
"This guide will ensure coaches, clubs and organisations are better equipped to use the power of football to support female refugees and help integrate them into their local communities. We are now seeing more women and girls than ever enjoying the game at all levels and, through important partnerships such as the one between The FA and Amnesty International UK, we can ensure the game becomes truly inclusive and keep driving participation forward."
Tasneem Tawil, Amnesty International UK's women’s football officer, added: "We know the vital role football can play in helping refugees and people seeking asylum settle into their new community, make friends and connections, and learn English. Women and girls, just as much as men and boys, have the right to the potentially life-changing benefits that participation in recreational football can bring.
"We are proud to work with The FA to deliver this and help to ensure the beautiful game is open to all."
On Thursday 21 January Amnesty International UK is hosting a free online event to support the launch of the guide, titled Football Welcomes: Engaging Refugee Women in Football. Panellists include England defenders Lotte Wubben-Moy and Anita Asante as well as Amnesty FC captain Comfort Etim and the director of Amnesty International UK, Kate Allen. Click here to register.