Bohemian FC launched their 2020 away jersey with an iconic and harrowing image of a family fleeing war taking centre place.
The away jersey in partnership with Amnesty International Ireland, to campaign together for an end to the Direct Provision system. The jersey also features the slogan “Love Football, Hate Racism” on the collar.
“We are delighted to unveil this very special shirt today which was made possible by our main club partner, Des Kelly Interiors. Football is a universal language and it can be a vehicle for great good in our society. At the core of the Bohemian identity is inclusiveness and a desire to utilise football as a means to improve our society as a whole,” said Daniel Lambert Bohemian FC Director.
“We made the decision to allow our shirt to be used a platform, alongside Amnesty International, to highlight a very real and pressing issue in Ireland today, that of Direct Provision.
“This builds on a deep and lasting relationship we have built with MASI and through multiple engagements with people living in Direct Provision.
“Bohemian FC and their supporters have an incredible track record on social justice issues. We’ve long respected the practical solidarity they’ve shown people seeking asylum and refugees, so this is a fantastic opportunity to bring our supporters together to call for an end to direct provision,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.
“Direct Provision is an ongoing human rights scandal. The system is fundamentally flawed, trapping people for years in limbo and isolating them from communities in inhumane, institutionalised conditions.
“We know there are challenges like the current housing crisis, but this has been going on for 20 years through successive governments. We need a new approach, one that protects people’s human rights. The Direct Provision system is hurting people, especially vulnerable groups like victims of torture, and children and families. So no more excuses. This has to end.”
“The Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland values the relationship we have built with Bohemian FC over the years. It is encouraging to see the club forge relations with asylum seekers who regularly attend matches and the team opening the stadium for us to use for events. We wish to congratulate Bohs on the launch and look forward to more collaboration. We thank the whole Phibsborough community for the continuous support,” said Lucky Khambule, coordinator for Movement of Asylum Seekers.
Bohemian FC supporters and members have been building strong links with people living in Direct Provision for a number of years, to break down the isolation and barriers they face. They have been raising funds to bring large groups of people living in DP to their home games at Dalymount Park. They have also worked with MASI on numerous other projects to build relationships with people in DP through football.
Amnesty is calling for the Government to end Direct Provision and urgently develop an alternative that protects human rights. They are also calling for the government to ensure meaningful consultations with people who have lived or are living in Direct Provision, and the groups that work with them, when creating an alternative approach.