Scotland’s own ‘World Cup’ was a win at Glasgow Green ahead of World Refugee Day

Scotland’s own ‘World Cup’ was a win at Glasgow Green ahead of World Refugee Day

Scotland’s version of the ‘world cup’ kicked off at Glasgow Green today [Saturday, 19 June] with the Refugee Week Scotland Football Tournament.

The tournament took place ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20, which also marks the final day of Refugee Week Scotland.

Players from all over the world – including Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Greece, Algeria, and Scotland – battled it out for the Refugee Week trophy. The eventual winners on goal difference were ProStar, based in Maryhill and made up of players from the African continent.

Amongst the footballers competing were Scottish Asian actor Atta Yaqub, best known for his part in Ken Loach’s film Ae Fond Kiss, and Pedram Ardalany, who formerly played with Partick Thistle.

Atta Yaqub said before the game: ”Football is a universal language so its great to be involved in this tournament. There’s such a beautiful multicultural mix here and that for me can only be a good thing. Refugees are an important and integral part of our community. The more we can get events like Refugee Week in our diaries the better it will be for all communities in Scotland.”

Payam Jahanian, 38, fled Iran to seek sanctuary in Scotland ten years ago. He now coaches the Persian Gulf team taking part in the Refugee Week Football Tournament and is training to be a coach at North Glasgow College.

He said: “When I first came here there was nothing – Glasgow was not ready for us. I think things have improved for people who are here seeking asylum now, but I know a lot of people, including some who play on the team, who are still going through a lot of stress.

“I would like to see more support for people in this situation. I think football can help because when you are worried about your asylum claim, it is always on your mind.”

Belinda McElhinney, Refugee Week Scotland Co-ordinator, said: “This event epitomizes what Refugee Week is all about – celebrating cultural diversity and integration, acknowledging the achievements of people from all ethnic backgrounds and what they can bring to Scotland, as well as having fun.

“It’s a brilliant way to mark World Refugee Day, and to round off what has been a wonderful Refugee Week for Scotland.”

Please credit all pictures Peter Iain Campbell

1&2: Players from the five teams competing at the Refugee Week Scotland Football Tournament at Glasgow Green. From left: Imran Yaqub (Ansar team); Sufyan Khan (Sufyaan’s Troops); Levis Albano (ProStar – tournament winners); Pedram Ardalany (Persian Gulf); Georgios (Steau Needarest)

3&4: Persian Gulf team coach and player Payam Jahanian, 38, gets some practice in.

For more information contact:

Clare Harris/Karin Goodwin on 07734 030 763


Notes for editors

  1. Refugee Week Scotland is co-ordinated by Scottish Refugee Council.  
  2. Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities. Refugee Week 2010 takes place from June 14 to 20. To see more go to 
  3. The purpose of Refugee Week is to deliver positive educational messages that counter fear, ignorance and negative stereotypes of refugees, through arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and promote understanding about the reasons why people seek sanctuary. 

Refugee Week was first held in 1998, and was created in response to the increasingly negative perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers held by the general public in Britain. It remains the only UK-wide event that promotes the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities.