Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

UNHCR and the EFL launch the Stronger Communities Cup, supporting refugee girls through football

Press releases

UNHCR and the EFL launch the Stronger Communities Cup, supporting refugee girls through football

31 May 2024
two girls play football

The Stronger Communities cup will showcase the inclusion and integration programmes of clubs across the UK.

Highlighting the solidarity and community shown by football clubs across the UK towards refugees, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the English Football League (EFL) are delighted to bring The Stronger Communities tournament to Somerset House this Saturday, 01 June.

Ahead of the Champions League Final later that day, teams from Blackburn Rovers, Preston North End and Sutton United will play a 5 a side tournament this Saturday at UEFA’s Fan Festival in central London at 3pm.

The event has been designed to promote social cohesion and highlight the positive impacts of sport, with girls from the local communities playing alongside forcibly displaced girls who have found a new home in the UK.

Preston North End Community and Education Trust carry out refugee football sessions across the city, including regular sessions with pupils from Preston Muslim Girls High School. Pupils Retaj Kodi and Enas Mohamed, originally from Sudan, are looking forward to playing.

“I really like playing football with my friends, and I’m delighted to be chosen for the Preston North End team, and very much looking forward to the day in London,” said Enas, aged 11.

Saad El Anazi, father of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust team member Baneen, has been living in the UK for the past five years, and has since volunteered with the Club Community Organisation in supporting refugees to integrate.

“Football is an amazing way to bring communities together,” Saad added. “My daughter is using football to make new friends and integrate with other young people within the local community.”

Vicky Tennant, UNHCR’s Representative to the UK will be handing out the awards to the players on Saturday once the results are in. Ahead of the match, she said:

“I’m honoured to have the chance this Saturday to meet the players and coaches taking part in the Stronger Together Cup at Somerset House. This event demonstrates the generosity of local football clubs and communities across the UK as they welcome refugees into their teams.  The players can feel all the benefits of sports whilst having fun and making friends”.

EFL Clubs and their Club Community Organisations support over 2,000 refugees and asylum-seekers each week through a variety of tailored programmes that aim to help build connections and provide access to local services such as health and wellbeing, education and employment and even housing.

Debbie Cook, EFL’s Director of Community said: “Football has the power to unite people from all backgrounds and that’s exactly what the Supporting Communities Cup will do – bringing like-minded young people together to build connections through a shared passion of football. We’re proud to be working with UEFA and the UNHCR on this initiative.”


For more information and media assets please contact:

The Stronger Together Cup will be held at 3PM on 1 June 2024 at Somerset House, London. As part of the Fan Festival ahead of the Champions League Final at Wembley in the evening, there will be a host of events throughout the day. The tournament will take place on the pitch in Somerset House’s Courtyard. The event is free to enter.