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Pompey Celebrate Football Welcomes Campaign

Blues supporting Amnesty International initiative

20 April 2023

Community

Pompey Celebrate Football Welcomes Campaign

Blues supporting Amnesty International initiative

20 April 2023

Portsmouth FC are joining football clubs across the country this month by welcoming refugees and people seeking asylum as part of Amnesty International’s ‘Football Welcomes’ campaign.

Ahead of Pompey's dedicated matchday against Accrington on Saturday, the club spoke to Ali Bayat from Tehran about his experiences since moving to England.

He first arrived in the UK to study at City, University of London in November 2022, but due to unrest in Iran, he claimed asylum.

Having previously worked as an English teacher, translator and sports news writer for more than six years, Ali was sent to south coast by the Home Office and the Portsmouth City of Sanctuary team were on hand to help.

He said: "Living in a city like Tehran with a population of 18 million people, I've always found myself in a very difficult race for everything.

"That, and all the other challenges, have contributed immensely to my ability to deal with different adversities.

"At some point, you realise that crying and feeling sorry for yourself will not do you any good and that has probably been the most valuable lesson I've learned from all the challenges."

"Not only does football keep me going, but it also has been a source of income for myself and my family over the years."

Ali Bayat

Since arriving in the UK, Ali started to get involved in local football sessions the Portsmouth City of Sanctuary had arranged.

He added: "Football has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I've enjoyed it as a hobby and worked in football-related positions, so not only does football keep me going, but it also has been a source of income for myself and my family over the years."

Ali currently works as an administrator at QA Hospital, where he occasionally helps with the translation of Persian.

This weekend he will be joining us at Fratton Park to celebrate Amnesty International UK's 'Football Welcomes' event.

Ali continued: "I am absolutely delighted to have the chance to watch Pompey live. Even though I'm an Arsenal fan, I'm a football fan first.

"When I see the passion in the city every time Pompey play, I really get excited. To me a football club is a huge part of people's lives.

"Sports are full of ups and downs and there will be times when you're so sad you want to hide from everything and everyone.

"But I believe nothing can bring life to a city quite like a popular sport – and football is by far the most popular here in Portsmouth. So, for that reason, the football club means a lot to me."


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