Integration League, from Lega Pro mixed tournament between refugees and local communities

Integration League is born, the mixed tournament involving local citizens together with refugees, asylum seekers, holders of subsidiary and temporary protection, to which 8 clubs of the Lega Pro have joined: Ancona, Fidelis Andria, Cesena, Feralpisalo, Virtus Francavilla, Monopoli, Potenza , Reggiana. The project was presented today in the Paolo Rossi Room in Figc by the number one of the Lega Pro Francesco Ghirelli, Unhcr and Project School in the presence of the number one of the Football Federation Gabriele Gravina. The new project with which football enters the field of inclusion was promoted by Lega Pro with the support of Unhcr and Project School – co-financed by the European Union.

The project involves the formation of 8 teams, made up of 8 Italian citizens and 8 refugees, asylum seekers, holders of subsidiary and temporary protection, male residents or domiciled in the cities of the participating Lega Pro clubs. The teams will train for 5 months in the facilities made available to the clubs and then compete with each other in a real 15-match tournament, with the final being played in an important Italian stadium. Furthermore, while the teams will be formed and trained, various collateral activities will be organized with training and awareness-raising purposes that will involve local institutions, youth sports centers and schools.

“I congratulate the Lega Pro and the President Francesco Ghirelli for this beautiful initiative, which is part of the activity that the FIGC has been carrying out with ‘Progetto Rete’ for several years with unaccompanied foreign minors, who take a decisive step towards inclusion in our country through football “, explained Gabriele Gravina, President of the FIGC. “It is a source of great satisfaction to host a very beautiful project in the Paolo Rossi Room and for which I congratulate the Lega Pro, both for the content and for the presentation: the Logo is very nice. a message that is significantly inserted in our way of understanding football, our vision. I thank all the Lega Pro for the level of sensitivity behind a project of this type. Football proves more and more to be a vehicle for inclusion, involvement and inclusion “, added Gravina, underlining that” the planning of Lega Pro, developed with partners of absolute prestige and involving adults, completes a training and integration path in a perfect system action, testifying to how much the world football is much more sensitive than it is represented “.

“I am particularly proud of this project because it brings out, once again, the extraordinary ability of Serie C clubs to be close to the territories and to respond to social needs”, then underlined Francesco Ghirelli, President of Lega Pro. “Today we are inaugurating a new model of integration that uses football as a vehicle that contributes to giving a sense of normality, especially to those living in difficult conditions. I hope that through this project, communities can rediscover a way to enhance the relationships between citizens and those who they flee from crisis situations, football puts people at the center “, added Ghirelli, explaining that this project” is normal, but the result of a long, complex path, which only with the support of UNHCR and Project School could we put on the pitch. We worked in the social field to find resources. It was an opportunity that we could not miss because it gave opportunities to our clubs to give concrete answers. But there is also the other innovation, when you cross Europe it changes the work axis, the timing, the approach. We carry out a social operation, look for resources and improve our structure “.

“When we think of refugees, we tend to think of their needs in terms of security, food, shelter, health, and more. This is obviously true. However, we cannot overlook other aspects that may not be strictly” life-saving “, but which certainly are. “They change your life”, clarified Chiara Cardoletti, UNHCR Representative for Italy, the Holy See and San Marino. “Being able to practice a sport such as football together with the local community is undoubtedly one of these. We are happy to be able to support Lega Pro in the realization of this project that will help refugees to create new friendships, feel safe and welcomed “.

“In Europe, in recent years the initiatives that adopt football as a tool to break down stereotypes of all kinds have multiplied”, explained Antonio Dell’Atti, Co-founder Project School. “With Integration League, we bring to Italy an innovative project in which the most popular sport in the world becomes the strategic key to create a perfect competitive context to show those who will follow the tournament that the color of the jersey of the two teams is the only real difference. among those who will take the field “.