Published 22 November 2018

I have seen on many occasions the power of football to unite communities...

The Duke of Cambridge

Thank you. Well, to be honest, Abdul, Jessica, Venus and Kash have said it all.

I had the pleasure of seeing the City for Peace programme in action when I was in Birmingham in 2015. I was struck then by the passion of the Young Peace Leaders to fight division and bring their communities together.

Football is not just a game. It is part of the fabric of this nation – providing a common interest and a unifying identity. It brings us together in the enjoyment of a simple pastime, without complication, but with plenty of passion!

Because I am a Villa supporter, football has brought me a great deal of pleasure over the years.  A chance to escape with friends and family and enjoy its virtues – teamwork, competition, fitness and, occasionally on my part, skill.

I have seen on many occasions the power of football to unite communities – most recently in Israel, where I met young Arab and Jewish Israelis playing together as part of a project called The Equaliser.

All of you Young Peace Leaders here today have worked together, played together and learned to confront pre-conceptions, stereotypes and negative ideologies. As Kashsaid, you are our future – metaphorically and literally breaking down walls!

And I am delighted that the Football Saves Lives campaign, launched today, will see more of you trained to bring young people from across the country together.

You may have noticed some serious footballing legends in our midst today and I know they will join me in congratulating the graduates this afternoon.

Without further ado, let’s invite the graduates up to the stage so you can all show your appreciation. Thank You.