Chelsea FC Foundation coaches supported a football match between a Surrey Police XI and a team featuring Afghan asylum seekers, having been invited by Surrey Police to attend the event following a long-standing partnership with the force.

The event, which took place at Meadowbank, the home of Surrey FA, was a show of unity and support for asylum seekers. Chelsea Foundation coaches Darren Simpson and Liam Allen oversaw the warm up for the Afghan side and offered words of support and encouragement ahead of kick-off.

After the event, Liam said: ‘It’s great to be able to come along and support the Surrey Police with such a great initiative. When we were invited, we couldn’t wait to be involved.’

PC Elliott Hartley, from Surrey Police, has been working closely with asylum seekers since they were housed in Dorking in the autumn of 2021.

The asylum seekers had fled war-torn countries and have had to start again here in the United Kingdom.During this time, PC Hartley quickly noticed that playing football was one of the group’s main interests and felt it was important to organise an event so the group had something to look forward to. In addition, the event was a chance to promote inclusivity, and educate and improve relationships with everyone involved across the community.

Speaking after the event, PC Hartley said: ‘It was a pleasure to see the joy it brought the asylum seekers.

‘We are really grateful for the assistance of Chelsea Foundation who selflessly and effectively helped with the running of the day. A big thanks to Surrey Police football manager PC Christian Winter and all the police officers who participated in the match who did so in their own time.

‘We are really hopeful that we will be able to organise further matches later this year and have more asylum seekers involved.’