Police violent crime squad face east London's youth in football match

KickOff@3 founder Pc Michael Wallace... using football to divert youths from violence and crime

KickOff@3 founder PC Michael Wallace... using football to divert youths from violence and crime - Credit: Met Police

Officers from the Met Police's violent crime unit are facing east London youths in a football battle.

They have formed a football squad to take on the team of teenagers from Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham that has already topped a national soccer league.

“We’re slightly nervous that they’re much better than us,” the Met's Lance Edmondson admitted. “But it's our first large event and we want to improve relationships with the community.”  

Yarnees... Ready to face police Violent Crime squad

Yarnee FC... Ready to face police violent crime squad - Credit: Yarnee

They have every reason to be nervous, as Yarnee FC — the word in Tamil means “how are you?” — are league champs for KickOff@3, a social inclusion programme co-founded by Met PC Michael Wallace to divert youngsters from crime using sport and music. 

But Yarnee only practice once a fortnight. Their manager, 20-year-old Inyanne Tamijarassane, doesn’t even play. 

“I’m not good enough,” he says modestly. “I get out of breath — just not fit enough.” 

Yarnees topped KickOff@3 soccer table

Yarnee FC topped KickOff@3 soccer table - Credit: Yarnee

He’s skilled in management, having launched a clothing brand called Yarnee during the pandemic while studying full time at University of East London on a civil engineering degree.  

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The sides face each other tonight (October 1) at Bromley FC stadium. 

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