SPIN Youth Kick-off Meeting, 7-9 February 2024

February 12, 2024

SPIN Youth Partners met in Vienna to kick off an all new EU funded project 

The latest project run by members of the Sport Inclusion Network is titled “Empower Diverse Youth – Build-up Youth Participation and Inclusion in Sport Organizations” (SPIN Youth).

Coordinated by the Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation’s fairplay Initiative (VIDC-fairplay), SPIN Youth partners gathered in Vienna for 2 days to launch their latest project running through June 2026.

Aiming to increase the participation of young people with diverse backgrounds (such as migrants, refugees, ethnic minorities) in sport, both active and in non-playing positions, SPIN Youth contributes to the creation of inclusive, discrimination-free sport environments which pro-actively welcome diversity and equality.

Before diving into a packed agenda, partners took a moment to reflect on their respective country context and current political landscape that sets the stage for the SPIN Youth intervention. Recognizing the diversity in target groups and needs there is consensus over the need for tailored activities.

Youth co-creation is the key innovation of SPIN Youth. Accordingly, partners took ample time to define the criteria for nominating youth coordinators to participate in the project’s first and key milestone event: the European Youth Training Academy, taking place from 4-7 October 2024 in Rome. Under the guidance of SPIN Youth partners, 16 diverse youth from across Europe, 2 per participating country, will acquire basic skills on how to conduct action research and coordinate a youth panel. Upon return to their home countries, they will invite more diverse youth to join a youth panel and develop youth-led action plans and implement them with local sport stakeholders.

On Day 2 of the meeting, partners heard from two practitioners in the field of social inclusion through sport.

First, Johannes Dachler, Coordinator Sport and Integration at Sportunion, one of Austria’s three main grassroots sport associations, gave an introduction into the background and ongoing work of Beyond Sport 2.0 – Vielfalt verbindet (Diversity connects), a programme funded by the Austrian ministry of Sport to offer inclusive and affordable sport to underserved communities across the country.

Finally, Founder and Chairman of the Sport and Cultural Association Neuer Start (New Start), Mr. Shokat Walizadeh, presented his association’s success story of how sport can be a powerful vehicle of inclusion for newly arrived communities such as refugees. Neuer Start has launched numerous activities with a wide outreach among diverse communities in Vienna and beyond, including the annual multi-sport festival “From Kabul to Vienna”, workshops on interculturality and gender sensitivity, and much more.

These were the participants of the SPIN Youth Kick-off meeting.

SPIN Youth project partners:

Stefan Belabed, Kurt Wachter, David Hudelist (Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation, VIDC, Austria, lead agency)

Daniela Conti, Davide Valeri (Unione Italiana Sport Per tutti, UISP APS, Italy)

Jean-Marc Alingué, Che Tangwan (Liikkukaa – Sport for All, Finland)

Des Tomlinson, Derek O’Neill (Football Association of Ireland, FAI) & Dermot O’Brien (Bray Wanderers, Ireland)

Victoria Schwenzer, Theresa Kunze (Camino, Germany)

Benjamin Dragolj, Mirna Hrapovic (Igrajmo Zajedno Inicijativa, IZI, Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Willie Westerhof, Yrsa Wagemaker (Huis voor Beweging, The Netherlands)

Joao Oliveira (Sindicato dos Jogadores Professionais de Futebol, SJPF, Portugal)


Shokat Walizadeh (Sport and Culture Association Neuer Start (New Start)

Johannes Dachler (Sportunion)

SPIN Youth is co-funded by the European Commission and its Erasmus+ sport programme.

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