In the summer, the European Commission called for submissions of sports projects for the integration and social inclusion of refugees. Across Europe, 70 projects were received, from which eleven were finally selected. One of the successful projects is "Sport Inclusion of Refugees across Europe" (SPIN Refugees).
The three-year project was developed by the Sport Inclusion Network (SPIN) and submitted by the fairplay initiative at VIDC as lead organization. The aim of "SPIN Refugees" is to improve the social inclusion and participation of asylum seekers and refugees at the local level through training, education and capacity building of grassroots sports stakeholders.
The project is implemented through a transnational partnership involving nine EU countries. It involves refugees and asylum seekers as well as clubs and sports organizations, national experts and trainers, and supports NGOs, initiatives as well as federations and other key sport stakeholders.
Partners in the project implementation are the Football Association of the Republic of Ireland (FAI), Camino (Germany), Unione Italiana Sport per Tutti (UISP), the Portuguese Players' Federation (SJPF), Huis voor Beweging (Netherlands), Liikkukaa - Sport for all (Finland), Mahatma Gandhi Human Rights Organisation (Hungary), Sport Austria and the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA, Denmark). ISCA was also successful in the call for proposals with its own project, which involves setting up a European networking platform with the other ten projects.
The SPIN Refugees project started in January 2020 and will run until the end of December 2022.
EU Call for Projects: Sport as a Tool for Integration and Social Inclusion of Refugees
The EU Commission's 2019 call for proposals followed calls in 2017 and 2018 to fund sports-related projects for the social inclusion of refugees in EU member states.
The potential of sport as a tool for social inclusion is now well documented. As a result, the potential of sports projects to support the inclusion of refugees in their respective societies is increasingly being exploited in many EU Member States.
The project will begin with a "Mapping Study" designed to search for sports projects that specifically engage refugees and asylum seekers. Based on this, good practice examples will be collected and disseminated. In a next step, a training program will be developed and held to help engage refugees and asylum seekers in sports. Finally, refugees and asylum seekers will be connected with sports clubs, individuals will be specifically trained as coaches and ambassadors, and the experiences and results will be disseminated in our networks.
Regular updates on "SPIN Refugees" can be found on the Sport Inclusion Network (SPIN) project page: www.sportinclusion.net.