Leeds, UK– The British government has faced criticism for its lack of response to the huge numbers of refugees who are heading to Europe in search of safety, yet within the country various grassroots initiatives have been launched to support those fleeing their homes and countries.
Among these initiatives, a small but dedicated group of football fans, who originally met through their love of the Hamburg-based left-wing club, St Pauli, organise various football-related events with refugees and asylum seekers who are already in the UK.
Yorkshire St Pauli (YSP) was formed in 2011 by a handful of St Pauli supporters in the Yorkshire city of Leeds, who were “sick of watching games surrounded by fans to whom racist, sexist and homophobic taunts were still the order of the day”.
Initially established to watch St Pauli matches with “like-minded people,” YSP went on to launch their ‘Football for All’ project in 2014, with the support of local refugee and asylum seeker support organisations.
Rooted in YSP’s left-wing values, the organisation says ‘Football for All’ is a “drop-in football kickabout where everyone is welcome”.