A football tournament held to highlight the fight against hate crime and racism has been won by a club formed in Wrexham to provide the opportunity to play for people from different ethnic backgrounds.
The six-a-side event held at Ysgol Clywedog in the town was sponsored by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones and was filmed by the BBC as part of a series how cash seized from criminals is benefiting community enterprises.
A team from the Wrexham Inclusion charity, which has been supported by the Cash From Criminals scheme with a £2,500 grant through the Commissioner’s Your Community, Your Choice awards, were among seven sides that took part while eventual winners, Belle Vue FC, have also been recognised in his annual Community Awards.
The two-goal hero of Belle Vue’s 3-1 final win over Albion was Adnan Nassry, born in Wrexham to Egyptian parents and showing the predatory instincts of a Mo Salah in front of goal.
He said: “It’s been an awesome day and I really enjoyed it. I only started playing this season and it’s going very well.
“The goals were nice but it was down to the team’s efforts to set me up. That’s made it a great day.”
Belle Vue player-manager Delwyn Derrick, who received the Commissioner’s Community Award for Equality and Diversity this year, said: “It’s been fantastic and a big thank you to the teams who showed up and played for a very good cause.
“Everyone knew why they were here. It wasn’t just for the trophy, it was to raise awareness of the fight against hate crime and the need to show racism the red card.
“Adnan is a hero of a player but they were all heroes today and for a first event it’s been really good.”
Peter Killane, of Belfast-based DSP TV, had been filming the Wrexham Inclusion FC, in the build-up to the event and during the tournament itself for the BBC programme Ill-Gotten Gains which will be televised next year.
The club, formed two years ago to support people with a range of issues from substance abuse and mental health problems and from ethnic minority or LGBT groups or who have been affected by bullying or homelessness, earlier this year netted a £2,500 windfall thanks to cash confiscated from North Wales crooks.
It has twice taken part in the European Mental Health Football Championships in Munich and last year was rated the fourth-best side in the tournament.
They lost out to a slick Albion side but Jordan Jones, 22, from Ruabon, voted third best player at this year’s European Championships said: “I played a lot of football at a good level but dropped out because of substance misuse. I used to take a lot of drugs and it all went downhill from there.
“But being involved with Wrexham Inclusion has helped a lot. It’s given me a second chance and I don’t feel I’m the only one there is with these problems.
“I feel part of a team and would like to get back into football but I’m waiting for a knee ligament operation but after that I hope to and get coaching qualifications.”
Arfon Jones, whose beloved Wrexham FC were battling to a goalless draw in the FA Cup Final Qualifying Round at Harrogate, was a keen spectator throughout the afternoon and presented the trophy to the winning side.
He said: “It was a credit to everyone who took part and I’m delighted to have been able to support such a great event which will hopefully now become an annual tournament.
“It has involved so many people and that’s so important because there’s nothing worse than social exclusion and hate crime does make people feel isolated.
“Sadly hate crime is on the increase and I am doing work involving hate crime against disabled people which is very hard to understand but which is also on the rise.
“This event was the culmination of a week-long campaign to highlight hate crime and I am determined to do everything in my power to help North Wales Police combat the rise in this vicious and unacceptable offence.”