In a joint initiative, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and the Sport Inclusion Network (SPIN) host a workshop on football as a tool for Social Inclusion of Refugees across Europe.
The 2-day event will bring together football & social responsibility experts, representatives of associations, clubs and players unions as well as NGOs and researchers. Speakers include Khalida Popal, Ex-Captain Afghanistan Women’s National Football Team, Pier Marcello Corrado from the Sport Unit of the European Commission and Nick Sore, Senior Refugee Sports Coordinator at UNHCR. Also UEFA member associations particularly affected by the Ukrainian refugee crisis such as Poland and Romania will good practice.
The event will kick off with a panel discussion at the Aviva stadium on Monday afternoon, 12 September.
Refugee Integration in Europe: Old and new challenges
After 2015, sport associations, grass-roots football clubs and sport-for-all initiatives across Europe played a vital role in the integration of refugees and asylum seekers, in particular on the local level. Following the Russian invasion, Europe is facing an even bigger refugee crisis which unprecedented. According to UNHCR more than 7,1 million individual refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe since 24 February. Sport can have once again a positive impact.
The workshop builds on the 2018 UEFA Football and Refugees seminar and will reflect on and share good practice on how to use football as an instrument to bridge the gap between refugees and host communities. The current crisis constitutes not only challenges but is an opportunity for the sport football movement to demonstrate and deliver its massive potential for social inclusion of refugees and migrants.
Working Group themes include “Football as an Agent of Inclusion: Current Needs, Challenges, and Good Practices” as well as “Identifying Sporting and Societal Solutions: Networking, New Alliances, and Policy Change”.
European Sport Inclusion Network
In Dublin a new review study on the Integration of Refugees through Sport will be presented. The review was conducted by the German SPIN partner organisation Camino.
The workshop takes place in the context of the European Commission funded project “Sport Inclusion of Refugees across Europe” (SPIN Refugees) (2020-2022), coordinated by the Austrian Fairplay Initiative. The project enhances the social inclusion and participation of asylum-seekers and refugees on the local sport level through training, education, and capacity-building of local sport stakeholders (see https://sportinclusion.net/).
During the forthcoming European Week of Sport (23 – 30 September 2022) SPIN partners will organise and facilitate joint “United for Inclusion” events where sport clubs and refugees enter partnerships on a local level. Events are about to take place in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany and Hungary.