We watched a refugee football tournament and the atmosphere was electric

We watched a refugee football tournament and the atmosphere was electric

“It means everything to them, they look forward to it every week, and personally I couldn’t imagine being stuck in a hotel with not a lot of release, not many activities put on for them.” Those were the words of coach Jordan Murphy as he closely watches his players on baking hot astro at Solihull Moors FC. Jordan, 27, has been training teams since November for the refugee football tournament in Solihull.

The skills are slick, tackles strong, and atmosphere off the scale – it is a football tournament like no other. Players hail from Sudan, Eritrea and Afghanistan to name a few and all have one thing in common – they’re refugees and asylum seekers living in hotels as they wait for the Home Office to decide their fates.

Holed up in Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall and Birmingham, most have fled war or persecution, but uncertainty gets left off the pitch, as this unique event brings around 60 players together for an all day tournament at the ARMCO arena. The sports programme runs in partnership with Solihull Moors FC, Solihull Council, Solihull Active and local refugee groups.

READ MORE: Life next to an asylum hotel where occupants can’t check out

Look through our photo story of the tournament below:

‘I couldn’t imagine being stuck in a hotel’

Some have made treacherous journeys to reach safety in the Midlands – but the sense of freedom and belonging on the pitch is clear to see. As we approached the sizzling hot pitch we could hear cheers and chants of players warming up.

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  • June 25, 2023