Previous SPIN projects

SPIN Women

Full Title of the project: Sport Inclusion of Migrant and Minority Women: Promoting sports participation and leadership capacities (SPIN Women)
Project dates (from/to): 1 January 2019 – 31 December 2020
! Weblink | Evaluation Report

Project Summary

The overall objective of the “Sport Inclusion of Migrant and Minority Women: Promoting sports participation and leadership capacities (SPIN Women)” was to encourage social inclusion and equal opportunities of women and girls with an immigrant or ethnic minority background through increased participation in sports.

Looking at society at large, migrant and ethnic minority women are belonging to the most excluded and vulnerable groups in Europe. The SPIN Women project has been designed to address these needs by enhancing the participation of migrant and minority women and girls in sport and recreational physical activities. It aimed to show the different perspectives of migrant and ethnic minority women and to develop strategies to increase their involvement in sports. This included capacity-building and empowerment components which increases the qualification and skills of female sport actors and multipliers. Furthermore, the project was conceived to raises awareness and to advocate for policy change within public authorities and sport governing bodies.

The SPIN Women project employed a critical empowerment approach and pays attention to the intersectionality of migrant and minority women. The project was the first pan-European systematic sport initiative to focus entirely on fostering the inclusion of female refugees and asylum seekers as well as women with an ethnic minority background (such as Roma) in and through sport.

1. Research on successful strategies and empowerment: Creating an empirical base for social inclusion through sport;
2. European training and connecting sport stakeholders;
3. Transnational Networking and advocating for policy change;
4. Education and Raising public awareness;
5. Communication, Dissemination and Evaluation;

Deliverables of the project include a study report on successful inclusion strategies, action researches, Sport Inclusion toolkit, connecting online tool, animated educational video and the (In)Visible exhibition.

Involved organizations: VIDC (lead), Football Association of Ireland, UISP (Italy), Camino (Germany), Mahatma Gandhi Human Rights Organization (Hungary), Portuguese Player’s Union (Portugal), Liikkukaa (Finland)

Sport Welcomes Refugees

Full Title of the project: Sport Welcomes Refugees – Social Inclusion of newly arrived migrants in and through sport
Project dates (from/to): 1 January 2017 – 31 December 2018
Weblink | Evaluation Report

Project Summary

The overall objective of the project “Sport Welcomes Refugees – Social inclusion of newly arrived migrants in and through sport” was to enhance the social inclusion and participation of newly arrived migrants on different levels of sport (formal and informal) through training, awareness-raising and capacity-building of sport stakeholders.

The project has been designed to achieve the following specific objectives:

  • Facilitate grass-roots sports participation of refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants through training of sport coaches and capacity building of mainstream sport clubs
  • To generate evidence-based knowledge about the needs of sport organisations and sport multipliers (coaches, instructors) how to best integrate newly arrived migrants into sport
  • Further develop a European framework for quality criteria regarding intercultural openness and inclusion of refugees and migrants in sport clubs
  • To capacity-build and empower migrants and refugee initiatives to challenge exclusion and discrimination and harness the role of migrants as volunteers (coaches, administers, referees) in sport clubs
  • Develop educational tools and raise awareness among sport stakeholders about issues of exclusion and discrimination and how practically foster social inclusion in sport organizations

In brief, the work programme has encompassed the following workstreams:

Workstream 1.: Towards an Evidence base: Assessing Needs, Developing Quality Criteria and Good Practice
1.1. Assessment of the needs of sport educators in view of the actual challenges
1.2. Description and analysis of Good Practice examples in Europe
1.3. Developing of quality criteria for projects including refugees in/through sports

Workstream 2.: Training and Qualification of Sport Educators and Clubs
2.1. Training Programme for Sport Coaches and Sport Instructors
2.2. Online-Platform: Sport Clubs open doors for refugees and migrants

Workstream 3.: Respect Refugees – Campaigning and Raising Public Awareness
3.1. Refugees Welcome Events during the European Week of Sport (Sept. 2017)
3.2. Refugee Welcome Events during FARE Action Weeks (Oct. 2018)

Workstream 4.: Capacity building of Sport Initiatives with newly arrived Migrants
4.1. Get structured – Network Meeting: “Grassroots Initiatives meet the organized Sport” (May/June year 1)
4.2. Basic Packages – Providing support for Sport Initiatives working with newly arrived migrants (ongoing)

Workstream 5: European Networking and Policy Development
5.1. Public Meeting at the European Parliament (Sept. 2018, EWoS)
5.2. European Conference: The Role of Sport in Building a Diverse and Inclusive Europe – Challenges and Opportunities (Nov. 2018, Lisbon)

Workstream 6.: Coordination and Communication


Full Title of the project: European Sport Inclusion Network (ESPIN) – Promoting Equal Opportunities of Migrants and Minorities through Volunteering in Sport
Project dates (from/to): 1 January 2015 – 31 December 2016
Website | Evaluation Report

Project Summary

The overall vision of the project “European Sport Inclusion Network – Promoting Equal Opportunities of Migrants and Minorities through Volunteering in Sport” was to involve those who are at risk of social exclusion. This was reached by increasing sports participation of disadvantaged groups (migrants & minorities) by promoting equal access to organised sport.

Key Outputs

  • In the seven partner countries of the ESPIN Project, actions concerning raising public awareness about the exclusion of migrants, ethnic minorities, refugees and asylum seekers, and the promotion of their inclusion through sports volunteering were realized, with a special focus cast during FARE Action Weeks 2015
  • During the European Week of Sport 2016 the development of networking among stakeholders also took place through the involvement of sports organisations with migrant volunteers in the organisation of 23 actions
  • The sports organisations that were involved in these actions of promoting sport activities and public awareness about inclusion obtained the Quality Mark accreditation (QMARK), implemented and developed by the ESPIN project
  • Several actions and their respective Milestones have also contributed to the promotion, support and development of networking between sports organisations and migrant volunteers
  • Publications: “Equal access for migrant volunteers to sports clubs in Europe. A baseline study”, in digital format and in a booklet, published in November 2016; “Handbook on Volunteering of Migrants in Sport Clubs and Organizations”, published as pdf and hardcopy, in July 2016; printed report of the European Networking Conference held in Budapest/Hungary, published as pdf and hardcopy, in December 2016
  • Two-day event “European Networking Conference: Equal Access and Volunteering of Migrants, Minorities and Refugees in Sport” gathered more than 70 participants from 23 countries on 25 to 26 November 2016


Full Title of the project: Sport Inclusion Network (SPIN) – Involving migrants in mainstream sport institutions
Project dates (from/to): 1 March 2011 – 30 April 2012
Weblink | Evaluation Report

Project Summary

The project SPIN “Sport Inclusion Network – Involving migrants in mainstream sport institutions“ was developed to challenge and address issues of inclusion and integration in and through sport. SPIN was designed to achieve the following results: Increase networking and sharing of best practices among European & national sport stakeholders how to pro-actively involve migrants in and through sport; Greater awareness and knowledge about appropriate methods among sport administrators how to counter the social exclusion of migrants in their associations or clubs; Learning from football and transfer of knowledge to other sports on mainstreaming intercultural action and equal opportunities’ policies; Empower and capacity-build migrant football teams and initiatives including refugees and asylum seekers in order to participate in regular leagues and competitions

Key outputs

To reach these objectives a range of activities were put in place:

  • Train the Trainers Workshops: In May 2011 hosted by UISP.
  • Inclusion Workshops for Sport Clubs & Associations: Each partner organised two Inclusion Workshops in their respective countries.
  • Football Refugee Day: Launch of a Football Refugee Day to mark the UN World Refugee Day on 20 June 2011.
  • Conference: Sport & Integration-Challenging social exclusion in and through sport: In Sept. 2011 the networking conference brought together sport & integration experts and migrant activists (107 delegates from 76 organisations representing 22 countries).
  • European Seminar: Involving young immigrants in winter sports: In January 2012 multipliers have been invited for a seminar during the first Winter Youth Olympic Games (WYOG) in Innsbruck, Austria.
  • Good Practice Guide: Good Practices, which looked at various stakeholders in the 6 partner countries plus UK. In conclusion, the brochure presents indicators and quality criteria resulting from the exchanges of the practical experience of the EU project, which could serve as a guideline for the assessment of the potential of inclusion of various sport offers, projects and programmes in the future.

Key findings

Despite knowing about the low sports participation of migrants or minorities in European countries, there are hardly studies or research that allows us to correctly evaluate the present situation. The target groups of the SPIN Project – young immigrant athletes and players, migrant communities from third countries, female migrants, refugees and asylum seekers – are all underrepresented in sport. In most countries migrants or ethnic minorities are almost completely absent in the roles of coaches, club managers, or positions in sport federations, even though many top athletes come from these communities.

The participation of female migrants is even lower, therefore specific gender sensitive sport programmes are needed. In particular outside football there is a lack of systematic lobbying and networking activities on part of minority groups. But without pressure from outside mainstream sport institutions including governing bodies and funders such as sport ministries will hardly change their policies and practices.

Conclusions for SPIN project

Discrimination can occur through a lack of understanding and ignorance and even arise from well-intentioned but patronizing words or actions. Therefore, the starting point is to try to understand the exclusionary practices and how these daily procedures affect the club or association. Sport bodies need to open up to the society at large and ensure that they are seeking advice and integrate minority, migrant communities and other targeted groups. This is not to pay lip service or as an act of charity, but as a necessity for the development of their sport. Partnerships, the involvement in the planning of activities and visibility of discriminated groups are therefore essential. This entails that minority groups need equal access to funding, sport infrastructure and job opportunities.

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