Oxford United are proud to be one of the partners in an 8-a-side Football Tournament for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants to foster community cohesion and integration. The tournament will take place on Sunday the 7th of May 2017 at Oxford University’s Sports Ground, Iffley Road Sports Ground 9.30am-6pm, with participating teams from East Timor, Algeria, Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia and Kurdistan.
Other teams are to be confirmed. The teams will be competing for the 'United Oxford Cup' and the winning team will be presented with the Cup at a League 1 match early in the 17/18 season at Grenoble Road and will receive match tickets. In addition, the winning team will visit the OUFC training ground, with a training session with an Oxford United coach. All participants will receive a tournament medal, sponsored by Reeds Solicitors. Local MP Andrew Smith will be supporting the event with spectators welcome to attend.
The tournament has been a great example of different organisations working together including Oxford United in the Community, East Oxford Football Club, Goalline Marketing, Asylum Welcome, Oxfordshire Mind, Refugee Resource, Oxford City Council, Oxford Health and the Oxford Mail.
Ben McFadyean one of the co-organisers, who provided the impetus for the tournament made these comments: “I have worked with refugees in Ethiopia and I have seen the challenges here in Oxford that asylum seekers and refugees can face, but this tournament will help strengthen the integration of the local refugee population. We would like to thank Darryl Eales from Oxford United for his tremendous support.” For Dan Knowles, Chief Executive at Oxfordshire Mind “There has been a lot of energy and commitment to make this tournament happen, and we hope that this will not just be a one-off event, but that there will be a longer-term legacy, with further tournaments in the future. It can be really tough for asylum seekers, refugees and new migrants integrating into mainstream life in Oxford, and what better way of doing this than through football!”
East Oxford Football Club has been one of driving forces behind the tournament recruiting many of the teams and helping to co-ordinate the event. In July two of its under-16 teams are representing Oxford at an International Football Competition in Perm, which is twinned with Oxford and all the partners are doing what they can to help the Club raise all the money it needs to send 17 players and 6 adults to Perm. East Oxford Football Club have raised £7,500 and need a further £3,000 to pay for all the air tickets and visas, with any funds raised by this tournament going towards this fundraising effort. Anyone wanting to support East Oxford FC get its youth teams to Russia can donate via the following webpage: