The skills are slick, tackles strong, and atmosphere off the scale – welcome to 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 await their fate.
Holed up in hotels in Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall and Birmingham, most have fled war or persecution and landed in the Midlands for safety. But uncertainty gets left at the pitch, as this unique event brought them together at the ARMCO arena this week to compete in a final they’ve been training for since November.
The sports programme runs in partnership with Solihull Moors FC, Solihull Council, Solihull Active and local refugee groups, and sees a Solihull Moors coach train players every week. 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.
The event took place on June 21 right in the middle of Refugee Week, which celebrates the contributions and value that refugees bring to the country.
Look through our photo story below to see what took place on the day.