Football for Unity
The Football for Unity programme of Oltalom Sport Association (OSA), supported by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union, the Berlin-based Streetfootball world and UEFA, has set ambitious plans, aimed at serving multiple purposes. As an accompanying programme to the 2020 UEFA Football Eurocup, the project used the widespread interest in the event to draw attention to the increasing xenophobia in Hungary and to provide a possible solution method.
One of the most important goals of the programme was to provide disadvantaged Hungarian and migrant youth with opportunities for health-preserving exercise and provide them with the possibility to get to know each other. The Hungarian government’s anti-migrant policy in recent years alongside the conceptual intimidation have had their effects: racist, xenophobic, homophobic and generally extreme, violent acts are becoming more and more common in Hungary, even among young people. One of the most effective means of preventing and reducing these phenomena is sport, where host and migrant communities can get to know each other in a playful way. They can experience that they have much more in common with those from the other end of the world than they thought they would.
Another important objective of the programme was to bring together local stakeholders, non-governmental organisations and municipalities that are also involved in the above phenomena, so that they could find a solution to the related problems together.
The methodological background of the sports integration programme was provided by Football3, a football-based game played by co-educated teams, for three halves. The methodology of Football3 makes it suitable for responding effectively to various social problems. An important goal of the programme was to train mediators, who are indispensable in Football3 matches. In Football3, instead of referees, mediators follow the events of the matches; their role is at least as important as that of the referee in a traditional football match. The increase in the number of mediators has a multiplier effect that allows more frequent events of a similar nature to be organised in the future.
These were the closing events of the programme for the past year:
- 17/06/2021 – Youth forum: at the event, which included a short workshop, the professionals participating in the program, some members of the target group and other interested parties shared their experiences and ideas about the possible future role of the program.
- 18/06/2021 -Football for Inclusion Tournament: In 9 districts of the capital, a total of 54 teams and more than 500 players competed according to the rules of Football3.
- 20/06/2021 – Awareness Raising Festival: The winners of the district league competed with each other in the City Park, which serves as a fan zone during the European Championship.
Written by OSA