Bundesliga fan action is coming to the UK
"It is also great that football fans in this country aren’t just admiring their stance but getting involved in sending out a positive and inclusive message.”
Anwar Uddin, Football Supporters Federation, Diversity and Campaigns Manager
Perhaps you saw some of the ‘Refugees Welcome’ banners that German football fans held up at Bundesliga games last weekend? We did and thought it was a brilliant initiative and such a great counter message to the constant drip-drip of negativity about refugees so often heard from sections of UK media and politicians.
Owen Gibson reports in The Guardian that a number of British clubs and fans groups are aiming to replicate this at league games next weekend. Aston Villa FC and Swindon Town FC have all so far confirmed they will be taking part in holding similar banners, some have already been spotted at games involving Celtic FC, FC United Manchester, Kingstonian and Dulwich Hamlet.
It is worth remembering that Germany is expected to receive 800,000 applications from asylum seekers this year, about 1% of the total population. The UK is far behind this number, as are other EU member states.
The positive open welcome from large sections of supporters will be appreciated by people who have been forced to flee their homes. And it’s not just the supporters helping out. The football clubs have been collecting donations to share with the new arrivals, Bayern Munich is to donate 1 million euros to help refugees and the German national team have released a video against violence and racism.
Elsewhere on the SRtRC site, Dee Matthew writes about the change in tone from the UK newspapers following the release of the harrowing images of Aylan Kurdi this week. Pressure is mounting on politicians to act and accept more people driven to such desperate measures by war and intolerable living conditions.
SRtRC has felt the effects of the unbalanced and misinformed immigration debate in the classroom. Young people are taking on the attitudes and perceptions of those newspapers about migration and asylum. Perhaps now a change from the media to reflect the human cost and empathise with people trapped in this system will have a positive effect on attitudes?
Football can be a force for good and SRtRC has always sought to harness the power of role-models from the game to talk about racism. We applaud the efforts of German football supporters and encourage people to get involved with ‘Refugees Welcome’ actions at their club.
SRtRC spoke to the Football Supporters Federation Diversity and Campaigns Manager, Anwar Uddin. He said “We can learn a lot from the fans actions in Germany. Football supporters are members of society and you can see their attitudes reflected in the stadiums. To see the actions of the Bundesliga supporters in welcoming refugees is refreshing. It is also great that football fans in this country aren’t just admiring their stance but getting involved in sending out a positive and inclusive message.”