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Germany Welcomes

County FA Attends 'Football Welcomes' Trip to Germany

Following an invite from Amnesty International, officials representing Liverpool County FA joined delegates from Premier League and Championship football clubs, The FA and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) on a trip to Germany to see how the nation’s football clubs establish refugee football programmes and help refugees settle into their new communities.

Representatives from Leicester City, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Fulham and Middlesbrough headed across to Germany to share best practice and try to emulate Germany’s programmes back in the United Kingdom. 

Germany WelcomesKicking off in Hamburg, the group visited St Pauli FC. A fan-led club, the organisation is funded in its entirety by supporters. St Pauli started working with refugees in 2015, when many refugees sought asylum from West Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. St Pauli have a partner club, FC Lampedusa, which was formed in 2016, which is a refugee team combined of players from West Africa and Libya, which has a coaching team consisting solely of female volunteer coaches.

The trip later saw the group visit Werder Bremen, who have worked with refugees since 2011. This early foundation ensured the club was prepared for the 2015 refugee crisis and ready to deliver various projects for the country’s newcomers from Libya, Syria and Somalia. Werder Bremen also works in partnership with refugees homes to promote their sessions to people aged between six and 25.

Borussia Dortmund was the next club visited by the travelling group, with the club providing refugees an opportunity to learn German and play football as part of the programme they offer. Alongside this, Dortmund focuses on employability skills, including CV construction and interview preparation. These sessions take place at TSC Eintracht, an amateur club that Borussia Dortmund delivers funding to in order to carry out the programme.

Germany WelcomesAlongside visits to football clubs, the group visited the National German Football Museum and met with the German Football League, DFL Foundation and the head of the nation’s ‘Welcome to Football’ programme.

The final days of the trip also saw visits to Mainz 05 and Freiburg to complete an insightful journey investigating the way in which Germany has opened its arms and welcomed refugees into the country.

Stu Carrington, Football Development Officer at Liverpool FA, said: “This was a fantastic trip. It provided a great insight into the way clubs run their programmes and help refugees settle into their new surroundings. We already have football programmes for refugees up and running in Liverpool, but it was great to share best practice and take ideas from Germany to help sustain our programmes. This will ensure they go from strength to strength.

“A huge thank you goes to Amnesty International for the invite to Germany. We’re looking forward to working together with them in partnership in the near future.”

For more information on refugee football programmes on Merseyside, please contact Stu by emailing stuart.carrington@liverpoolfa.com or calling 0151 523 4488 (Ext. 121).

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