Former soccer star Gary Lineker will welcome a refugee into his own home

Jawahir Roble fled from Somalia to England with her parents after her country's civil war when she was a girl. Ten years later, she became the UK's first female Muslim referee.

Posted: Sep 3, 2020 8:01 AM
Updated: Sep 3, 2020 8:01 AM

Former England international and current television host Gary Lineker has said he will welcome a refugee into his own home in the coming weeks.

The 59-year-old, who played for the likes of Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur during his career, has been a vocal critic of how the UK government has treated refugees trying to cross the English Channel and wanted to do something to help.

He called the approach "heartless and completely without empathy" in a tweet last month and tweeted on Thursday: "Providing a new start to those who've fled their homes represents the best of Britain's values.

"As we know refugees have always helped to keep our communities safe and make our society stronger. They even brought us fish & chips. Im standing with @RESCUE_UK to #StandWithRefugees."

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Lineker also highlighted refugees' contribution to Britain's Health Service.

"They have given so much to this country and still continue to do so in terms of the jobs they do which we have witnessed during the pandemic in the NHS, carers and key workers," Lineker told the Daily Mirror.

READ: The pioneering journey from refugee to soccer referee

'Why not?'

Lineker signed up with the charity 'Refugees at Home', which will assess his house before placing a guest with the TV presenter.

The organization seeks to connect those with a spare room in their house to refugees and asylum seekers in need of accommodation.

According to its website, it's so far helped place 2,254 guests for a total of 170,823 nights.

"We are so grateful for all the host applications that we receive, but are particularly delighted when people with such a high profile sign up to host," read a statement.

"We hope that by Gary sharing this news with his followers we can spread the word about hosting."

The former striker said he wasn't nervous about welcoming a stranger into his house on the outskirts of London.

"I have met scores of young refugees through football schemes and they are genuinely lovely kids and they appreciate any help they can get," he added.

"I'm sure it will be fine. I have been thinking of doing something like that for a while.

"My kids are all grown up so I've got plenty of room so if I can help on a temporary basis then I'm more than happy to do so. Why not?"

CNN has reached out to Lineker's representatives but is yet to receive a response.

READ: Messi's father discusses son's future with Barcelona leadership

Crisis

The pandemic has worsened the migrant crisis across Europe as people attempt to make hazardous journeys in search of a safe home.

Almost 4,900 people have crossed the Channel in small boats since lockdown began, more than double the amount thought to have crossed in the whole of 2019, according to analysis by PA Media.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said such crossings were "very bad and stupid and dangerous and criminal."

Last month, Conservative MP Lee Anderson described Lineker as a member of the "liberal left."

"If Gary Lineker wants to email me his full name, address, postcode and details of the accommodation that he currently resides in, I will make sure that's available for the next boat of illegal immigrants to come and live in -- bed and breakfast of course," Anderson told talkRADIO.

"It's the liberal left again, virtue signaling, trying to say all the right things, trying to tweet out the right messages on social media to look popular.

"But I'll tell you what, it's not popular, because the silent majority in this country are right behind the common sense group."

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