Football Welcomes | Valon's Story

Watford FC are pleased to be joining football clubs across the country and supporting Amnesty International in recognising the contribution refugees have made to football.

Football Welcomes, a weekend of action organised by Amnesty International, marks the 80th anniversary of the arrival in the UK of some of the first refugees to play professional football here. 

Hornets midfielder Valon Behrami is just one example of how football can help refugees around the world, having found happiness through football in Switzerland after being forced to leave his native Kosovo as a four-year-old. 

"I was born in Mitrovica, a town in Kosovo. I stayed there until I was four," Behrami told Amnesty International. 

"One day my dad realised there was no future there and it started to be a bit dangerous and we chose to go somewhere else."

Behrami and his family were forced to leave his hometown as violence began to erupt ahead of the Kosovo War and flee to Switzerland.

"As a kid in Switzerland I was very good at running then one day a friend came and asked me if I wanted to play a football game.

"I said “I can come and try but I’ve never played before.” That day I played for the first time and I scored two goals.

"The emotion I felt when I scored was different. I felt so happy for the first time in my life.

"I see now the extreme situations in some places in the world. We should just be ready to help." 

Watch the full interview with Behrami above to find out more about his story and how football helped to change his life. 

First Team 22/04/2017

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