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The Unity Cup

Unity Cup

The Unity Cup is a national football festival, held annually in different cities across the UK and organised by Kick It Out. The Unity Cup brings together teams of refugees and asylum seekers from all over the UK to play against each other and in front of the local community.

It aims to help dispel negative stereotypes and highlight the positive contributions that refugees and asylum seekers are making in the UK.

The 2006 Unity Cup was held in Sheffield from 14-16th July. Football Unites, Racism Divides hosted the festival of football where members of displaced communities from across the UK were able meet up and share their passion for the game.

The national festival, organised by Kick It Out in partnership with Football Unites, brought 20 teams of refugees and asylum seekers together from all corners of the UK to highlight the positive contribution displaced communities are making to society and to challenge negative stereotypes.
 
The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Cllr Jackie Drayton, officially opened the festival at a ceremony on Devonshire Green in Shefield city centre that included performances by local bands, DJs and dance groups as well as Streetkick, with an attendance of hundreds of local people.
 
The teams were drawn into groups at the opening with the help of Sheffield United star, Leigh Bromby, former Sheffield United strike-force, Brian Deane and Tony Agana,local boxing star Amer 'Killa' Khan and Mukhtar Mohammed, a young Somali player from the Sheffield Wednesday Academy.
     
The Festival split into two on Saturday night with two separate trophies up for grabs, the Unity Cup and Unity Shield.
 

Last year's winners VG Foundation from Manchester retained their title, beating Sheffield side Albanian Fire in the Unity Cup final.

Polish Consul, attending the festival for the first time, took home the Shield after a final with Hull's Azardi ARKH.
  
Bolton side, FC Strongbow, were voted the Marc Vivien-Foe Fairplay winners and will now join Chelsea and Liverpool fans at the Community Cup Final in Cardiff next month courtesy of The FA.
 
The vote on who would be going to Cardiff reflected how the spirit of the festival was enjoyed by all the teams as only one vote separated the team from 5 others.
 
Sheffield United Academy Director, George Harrison, paid testament to the teams, "There have been some fantastic players on show here over the weekend and I've been very impressed by how the teams have played the game in the right spirits.
 
"The Unity Cup Festival has surpassed all of my expectations and we feel proud to have hosted this great event."

The festival was organised with the support of the Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA, Sheffield City Council and Amicus trade union.

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