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CUFITC Refugees Take Part In Historic Game

CUFITC take on Palace For Life

10 October 2022

Colchester United FITC played the Palace for Life Foundation in the clubs first ever refugee match.

On Monday 3rd October 2022, Colchester United FITC played in their first ever refugee match, against hosts the Palace for Life Foundation. A team of refugees and asylum seekers headed down to Beckenham in London where Crystal Palace’s state of the art academy training ground is situated to take part in a 90 minute match.

Colchester United FITC started the match very strongly and took an early 2-0 lead. However, the players started to tire towards half-time and by the end of the half Palace for Life found themselves 3-2 in front. The players came back out after the break with a spring in their step, as they knew the 6th goal in this game would be crucial. However, that goal went to Palace for Life. The final score ended 6-2 to Palace for Life but regardless of the result everyone who played should be proud.

Over the past few months a number of charitable groups in Colchester have been working together to prepare for this historic fixture. A huge thank you goes to Colchester Sixth Form College for allowing us to train on their 3G pitch, where we have held regular weekly sessions since February 2022. The improvement in their football skills lead Health and Inclusion Officer, Ed King, at Colchester United FITC to look for a fixture. He said “We wanted to organise a fixture for the participants, to give them something to look forward to. Therefore, we contacted the Palace for Life Foundation who were first class in helping to setup the match. It was a brilliant game and the players should hold their heads up high, especially considering for most of the players it was the first 90 minutes they had played in years”.

Refugee Action Colchester were fundamental in the organisation of this game and our weekly training sessions. Through their support we have regularly seen over 20 participants attend training. Colm McDonald who is a Caseworker and Football Project Lead at RAMA, when asked about the game said "The Refugee/Asylum seeker football day out was a fantastic day and experience for our team and enjoyed by all.  The team looked very professional in the stripes of Colchester United and the facilities at the Crystal Palace’s academy training ground were a real privilege to play at.  While this day has been the culmination of months of planning it is also the start of a new adventure for all the guys and hopefully with the continued support Community 360, Active Essex, Colchester United FITC among others RAMA (Refugee Action - Colchester) can push forward and secure more fixtures and build on this hugely positive and fulfilling adventure for all involved.  Well done everyone!"

We also thank Community360, Active Essex and Colchester Borough Council. These organisations have all played a massive part in the months of planning the fixture.

We are keen to hear from any other clubs who might be interested in a refugee match, please email Edward.king@colchesterunited.net if you are and he will look to get back to you as soon as he can.


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