I was working with Football Unites Racism Divides (FURD) filming a mini-tournament organised amongst the Roma Slovak community in Rotherham a couple of weeks back. We're putting together an event on Football Stories for Sheffield's Off-the-Shelf Literary festival on 24th October. Our video will let these men tell their story about how important the game is to them.
Our event also falls in the FARE network's "Football People" weeks and has support from the FARE network. The FARE "action weeks" bring together groups of all sizes in over 40 countries to counter discrimination and celebrate diversity through the game - using the power of football to present a unified stand against discrimination and declare themselves "Football People." Sheffield and the city region brought the modern game to the world: a game that transcends all barriers. Both grassroots and professional football, including national teams playing the 2016 UEFA Euro qualifiers, will be involved in the campaign reaching fans around the world.
One of these footballers works as a Police Community Support Officer in his community and is involved in getting them together regularly for football matches, events that contribute to their quality of life, giving them something constructive to do at little cost. It is a real family occasion, with women and kids getting together to talk and watch the games. They are trying to build better lives for themselves and their families and work alongside the other communities in the town. They look a bit of a rag tag bunch on the pitch though because of their lack of kit; something that passion for the game only goes part way to making up for. Just having matching kit would make a big difference, but it is way beyond their means.Without it they can't really move on or think about joining local leagues. There are appeals to send kit to Africa which is fantastic; I just hope someone out there still has some spare kit stuffed in a cupboard not being used that could make a big difference to these guys. I can be contacted by Twitter: @stevek1889