On Saturday 15 June, Tiger Bay FC, a team created from the Somali community of Cardiff were crowned champions of the Cymru Refugee Football League after beating runners up Kurdish FC in a thrilling 3-0 win.
The Cymru Refugee Football League was developed by the Welsh Football Trust in partnership with Refugee Voice Wales and Sport Wales. It was set up following an assessment of football opportunities available to asylum seekers and refugee players in and around Cardiff. The majority of players are on minimum benefits and are restricted to play in the established leagues across Cardiff due to financial and transportation barriers. Another reason behind the league was to give players who have not played competitive football before a chance to play mainstream football in a structured environment. The 11-a-side adult league consist of six teams, each team representing their own nationalities including Somalia, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Kurdish, Sudanese and Eritreans.
Currently there are around 100 new registered players, 24 new level 1
coaches, 7 new qualified football referees and 6 new candidates who are going on to do their C certificate (level 2) course in Cardiff this year.
Themba Moyo, Chairman for Refugee Voice Wales commented
“This was an excellent opportunity to introduce league football to those who did not have the opportunity to participate in the mainstream football league. It has created space to increase community cohesion between the different nationalities in Cardiff and showcase the talent amongst the refugees in Wales”
With the league completing its first successful season, the plan is to continue next season with interest from other teams made up from BME communities in Cardiff.