Two friends, Rev Mike Loach (Christchurch, Higher Bebington) and Ibrahim Syed (Wirral Deen Centre – Mosque) were in a restaurant one evening, having a curry together and had a moment of inspiration.
‘Why don’t we use the power of the Beautiful Game to strengthen friendships across faiths?’ The idea was simple, could they entice a diverse range of faith leaders from across the Liverpool region with a game of weekly football, where they would naturally become friends? This, in turn, would help to unite communities.
Next, Tranmere Rovers became involved. Ibrahim had already formed strong links with TRFC due to their champion work on community outreach. So, when Ibrahim took the inter-faith football idea to TRFC owners, Mark and Nicola Palios, the two were, predictably, immediately supportive.
They offered the use of their grounds, and very much wanted to be part of this wonderful idea. Mark and Nicola then introduced Ibrahim to Tranmere’s club chaplain, Buddy Owen, to assist. TRFC invited Ibrahim and Mike to the VIP lounge for the Tranmere v Macclesfield Town match on Friday 12 October – which, of course, TRFC won 1-0.
From this, a weekly game of football between Faith Leaders from across the region is due to kick off, in the Recreation Centre at Prenton Park, every Friday evening, 9pm – 10 pm. The first game will coincide with Inter Faith Week, Friday 16th November. Spectators are welcomed.
It is also rumoured, from a trustworthy source, that Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotherham is interested in playing and showing off his footballing skills (and of course championing this great cause!).