UNHCR & Sport Against Racism Ireland celebrate World Refugee Day at the 2015 Fair Play Football Cup


Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mr. Christy Burke, with Diversity FC at the 2015 Fair Play Football Cup  © UNHCR

The 6th Fair Play Football Cup, held each year to mark World Refugee Day, was the biggest to date with 20 teams from around the country joining UNHCR and Sport Against Racism Ireland on Sunday June 21st 2015.

Members of refugee communities from Myanmar, DR Congo, Sudan and many other countries joined older refugee communities from Vietnam resettled in the 1970s. Asylum seekers from reception centres also took part including many long stay residents.

Each team put in a first-class performance but in the end it was Irish Media moguls ‘Hot Press’ who sealed the deal in a 1-0 victory against the ‘Kilkenny Tigers’ to be crowned the 2015 Fair Play Men’s Cup Winners.

This year it was not only the men striving for glory as UNHCR welcomed an additional 3 teams from Dublin, Athlone and Kilkenny in the inaugural women’s tournament.  Taking to the pitch, Diverse City, a team comprised of Dublin’s Muslim women community stole the show in a 3-1 win over Kilkenny.

"World Refugee Day is held each year to raise awareness about the plight of the world's refugees and displaced people, of which there are now 60 million" said Sophie Magennis, Head of Office with UNHCR Ireland. "That is the highest number UNHCR has ever recorded. It is also an opportunity to mark the amazing contribution that refugees make to Irish society."

Presenting the Fair Play Award for best team spirit and respect to newcomers Team Hanoi/Saigon, Minister of State for Justice and Equality, Mr. Aodhan O’Riordain TD., praised  the integrity of refugees and the integration efforts of Irish Society ahead of the upcoming publication of the Report of the Working Group on the Protection Process.

"This week will be an historic one for those people who came here seeking a better life", he said, "Irish people have gone to countries all over the world. It is a complement to Irish society that so many have come here too."

UNHCR would like to say thank you to all teams and supporters who participated in making the 2015 Fair Play Football Cup a success once again, including new teams RTE, Hanoi/Saigon and Second Captains and the Athlone and Kilkenny women’s teams. The event was kindly supported by the Department of Justice and Equality, the Football Association of Ireland, Edun and Koh Coconut.