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What Can The Soccer World Do About Trump's 'Muslim Ban'?

08/02/2017 11:04
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

One of the most exciting times in British football has just come to an end, with the January transfer window slamming shut.

Getting in just before midnight were Middlesborough, who landed Watford midfielder Adlene Guedioura.

Guedioura, 31, was eagerly snapped up for £3.5million - without a thought that he is a Muslim from Algeria.

In fact, the star's freedom to be in Britain playing the beautiful game is something we take for granted. After all, football is a business driven by foreign-born talent.

But the picture is so very different right now in US, where the soccer community is just as culturally diverse and outward-facing to the world as here in Britain.

Under President Donald Trump's 'Muslim Ban', citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries have been barred from entering the US for 90 days.

The ban currently affects Syria, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Libya but could so easily have been any of the 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world.

The Major League Soccer (MLS) work force last season featured players born in 61 countries. It's not uncommon for a young American to perform for a select team on three continents before he or she turns 18 and the men's national team has visited 22 nations in four years

American soccer fans, meanwhile, are more likely to watch a match originating from London than Los Angeles.

It's no surprise then, that so many in American soccer are furious about Trump's recent executive order banning entry of refugees and migrants from seven mostly-Muslim countries.

Kei Kamara, the former Norwich City and Middlesborough star, who fled Sierra Leone to the US in a refugee programme and now plays forward for New England Revolution said on Instagram: "I was a Muslim refugee (2000) and a Muslim citizen today (2017)... This is the UNITED States of America. #UnitedWeStand #MeltingPot #NoMuslimBan"

On Saturday, the day after the executive order, US soccer captain Michael Bradley posted an Instagram message condemning Trump and the so-called Muslim ban.

He said: "When Trump was elected, I only hoped that the President Trump would be different from the campaigner Trump [and] that the xenophobic, misogynistic and narcissistic rhetoric would be replaced by a more humble and measured approach to leading our country. I was wrong. The Muslim ban is just the latest example of someone who couldn't be more out of touch with our country."

Elsewhere, US Women's National Team star Alex Morgan meanwhile Tweeted, "I am in shock and disbelief. Has history not taught us anything?"

And in a statement on Sunday, US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said that he's taking a "wait and see" approach on how President Trump's executive order on immigration might impact whether or not they made a World Cup bid for 2026. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2690073-sunil-gulati-comments-on-donald-trumps-immigration-ban-and-world-cup-2026-bid

The MLS Players Union followed with a statement on Monday, saying it was "extremely disappointed by the ban" and feels "strongly that it runs counter to the values of inclusiveness that define us as a nation:"

Since the ban, protests have taken place across the country, and football should be no exception... so I want to issue a challenge.

Across the world, fan culture regularly becomes a platform to elevate social and political issues affecting the communities clubs are based in.

When the US professional soccer leagues kick off again next month (March), I'd like to see fans displaying banners standing up against the executive order.

Just as the football world has come together for refugees in Europe over the last couple of years, it's time for US soccer fans to do the same.

As British and French football fans showed with The Liberté Cup - currently available to view on the ITV Hub - where they put on a football tournament for refugees in a camp Northern France, the game can be used as a massive force for good.

Football unites people, cities, countries. Football can and does unite the world.

Let's show President Trump that we are not as divided by nations as we are united by the beautiful game.

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