With the support of UNHCR’s Field Office Tehran, the Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants’ Affairs (BAFIA) under the Ministry of Interior of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran organized the country’s biggest refugee football tournament yet.
As part of the joint BAFIA/UNHCR ‘Knowing Afghanistan’ competition which aims to better connect Afghans living in Iran with their culture and traditions of their homeland, the tournament kicked off in Qazvin on 23 November 2017 with the participation of refugee football teams from 14 different provinces across Iran. The Deputy Director General for Central BAFIA, Mr. Salehi, spoke at the opening ceremony and thanked refugees for their enthusiasm and participation, and UNHCR for its ongoing cooperation and involvement in the “Knowing Afghanistan” project in particular football tournament. UNHCR Iran supported this sporting initiative by equipping all players with football kits/uniforms and by providing transportation for refugees.
With over 330 refugee footballers participating, Iran’s largest refugee tournament brought together talented Afghans to put their skills into practice and to foster a sense of unity and youth empowerment. The event is particularly testament to the government’s ongoing efforts to engage refugees in sporting initiatives and to support the refugee youth community.
The tournament took place from 23-26 November in Qazvin, culminating in the final round between the teams Fras and South Khorasan provinces, with the refugee team from Fars province taking first place.