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This is the third newsletter of MATCH project, which aims to promote social inclusion and equal opportunities for disadvantaged young people through the participation in sport activities.



Since 2014, around 1,8 million people arrived on the Europe’s coasts [UNHCR] fleeing their country to escape from persecution, armed conflict, violence. At the same time, far right parties and far-right ideas meet more and more success in Europe. These parties use most of the time an anti-migrant speech which maintains prejudice against migrant people. This is resulting in a rise of racism and xenophobia which “plays a key role in migrants’ exclusion and violations of rights in the European Union” [European Network Against Racism].

In this context, it is very important to push for change, to break down the barriers of racism and social hardship and to promote an intercultural vision in our societies.

In this way, sport can be a good answer. Since few years, it has been promoted as a universal language allowing to go over social and cultural barriers, as a vehicle for peace and human development [the United Nations]. The European Union has also recognized the positive effects of sport which could be seen as “an inspiring celebration of human prowess and grace that is inclusive, generous-hearted and fundamentally multicultural” [White Paper on Sport - 2007].

Furthermore, sport can represent a good factor for the inclusion of socially disadvantaged groups, marginalised people and people at risk of discrimination. Sport and social inclusion is then one of the priorities of the EU, reaffirmed in the new EU Work Plan for Sport (2017-2020) with one priority area focusing on “sport and society” and particularly on “social inclusion, role of coaches, education in and through sport […]”. Indeed, according the EU sport can be “extremely valuable in the context of social inclusion and integration” and can “provide opportunities for marginalised and underprivileged groups, such as migrants and people at risk of discrimination, to interact and integrate with other social groups.”. For this purpose good practices have been underlined (in September 2016, the Commission published a study on how sport promotes the integration of migrants in Europe) and some initiatives have already been put in place (such as the #BeInclusive EU Sport Awards since 2017).

Sport can be a truly powerful educational tool and a complement to what is done at the institutional level in promoting various values such as tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, and an intercultural vision of our societies. By bringing people, who do not usually interact, to know each other, to speak, to share a sense of belonging, sport can be really useful. It allows this people coming from different segments of the population to go over hate speeches they could hear around them and thus combat any form of prejudice, racism and xenophobia. It is indeed essential in our societies to foster exchanges and dialogue between people because it is the path to prevent the rising of potential discriminatory practices and ease the inclusion of marginalized people such as migrants. For this purpose it is especially important to involve youth coming from different backgrounds to open them up to intercultural ideas in order for them to become the ambassadors of a message of tolerance.

That is why sport’s potential as a training and inclusive social tool needs to be maximised to address the obstacles and life challenges these people are facing by carrying out empowering programs and intercultural dialogue-interventions. This means also to support trainers, coaches in developing professional skills and competencies to manage diversity and tensions and to carry out inclusion process of disadvantaged and marginalized population. It is finally also important to foster volunteering in sport and encourage marginalized people to involve themselves within sports clubs and in sport activities.

This has been the aim of MATCH – Social inclusion opportunities project, a 2 year Collaborative Partnerships project co-funded under the Erasmus + programme, intending to enhance social inclusion and equal opportunities for refugees and disadvantaged young local people by fostering and increasing participation in sport activities.

From the 6th to the 21st of June, 10 young people from Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Greece, Bosnia Herzegovina and Spain came to Palermo for the “Job-Shadowing” activity. These youth participated to several sport activities aimed at social inclusion and mutual respect along with locals, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. They notably participated to the urban renewal of the “Campo di Bocce” in the district of Albergheria, to its inaugural event which gathered more than 50 people and to the “Campo di bocce cup”, one of the stage of the Mediterraneo Antirazzista tournament, an historic sport and cultural festival in Palermo. They actively took part then to the final of this tournament, where they gave logistic and organizational support and reinforced the different sport activities (football, volleyball, cricket and rugby), in which more than 100 sport teams were participating. They have been also involved in the implementation of the inaugural and final concert, which gathers more than 500 people. Finally, they contributed to the “MATCH video contest” in which they had to create short videos promoting sport, social inclusion and mutual respect.


Video Mediterraneo Antirazzista

Click below to enjoy it!


Match at Mediterraneo Antirazzista

MATCH job shadowing



I did not expect to see huge things organized and done in a good way.” Adams K. I., from Burundi and Greece

“In the future I would like to mix sociology and sport in a similar way it took place here. I would like to give opportunities and to reach people who do not have the same opportunities.” Adrià V., from Spain

“Magnificent moments” Ebanda Isaac Dominique E., from Cameroun

“A lot of people from different social groups had to collaborate and the result was successful. I feel very proud that I took part in the Mediterraneo Antirazzista because they are doing an incredible work for children from difficult neighborhoods.” Dertila D., from Greece

“We did a great job!” Dino D., from Bosnia and Herzegovina

“I want to repeat these 15 days again with this great people.” Azuz Omar N., from Bosnia and Herzegovina

“I liked to take part to the renovation of the public space because we make something important for the community. And we did it for the kids, in order to people enjoy the place. The teamwork we had these days was perfect, for the communication, for the atmosphere, for all. If anybody can make these things, the world will be better. I would like to do again these things and this experience in the future” Maikel P., from Spain




Match Job Shadower



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The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


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