European Prize for Social Integration through Sport: and the winners are…

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The five winners of the Efus European Prize for Social Integration through Sport were announced on Sunday 3rd July in Saint-Denis, as part of the Euro 2016 Debates, organised by the French Agency for Education through Sport (APELS).

Following the call launched by Efus in July 2015, five projects were chosen from more than 200 applications, submitted across 22 countries and evaluated by a European jury. As emphasised at the ceremony by Elizabeth Johnston, Executive Director of Efus, “This prize aims to give visibility to initiatives which, through sport, contribute to social integration by teaching values such as respect and tolerance.”

The ceremony was opened by Florence Haye, Deputy Mayor of Saint-Denis in charge of youth affairs, who thanked Efus for being an inspiring partner for cities, and highlighted the extensive work carried out by the city and the association with regards to social cohesion and prevention.

Marco de Marchi, former Italian professional footballer, was the sponsor of this ceremony which gathered nearly a hundred people including: members of the jury, Prize winners and participants, local associations and residents of Saint-Denis.

Thanks to the support from the European Commission, each winner received a reward of €8000 to put towards the organisation of a local activity designed to help promote and develop their project.

The five winning projects as well as 20 other project deemed particularly interesting by the jury are featured in a publication focused on the role of sport as a tool to strengthen social cohesion, which is targeted at European political decision-makers.


Winning practices

In the category: “Prevention and fight against racism”: Mondiali Antirazzisti (Italy)

This annual festival aims to bring groups of people from all different environments to engage in sports activities, in order to create a European culture of tolerance and integration and to promote an intercultural dialogue.

In the category: “Promotion of gender equality”: PLAY International (France)

This project aims to work on gender representation and gender relations with children; to eliminate stereotypes and prejudices before they become permanent; and to also give girls and women the chance to benefit from sport as much as boys.

In the category: “Integration marginalised people”: Come Together Cup (Germany)

The Come-Together-Cup is a non-profit football tournament which seeks to fight against socio-cultural barriers, or bias against gender, nationality etc. in accessing sport and bringing together various different components of society to overcome these prejudices and mutual stereotypes.  

In the category: “Inclusion of people at risk”: Icehearts of Finland (Finland)

Icehearts is a programme which, thanks to the support of trusted adults and Icehearts’ coaches, spans over 12 years to prevent social exclusion, develop social skills and create a secure long-term environment for vulnerable children, throughout their childhood and adolescence.

In the category: “Education in active citizenship or fair play”: RollerFootBall (France)

The RollerFootBall project is an entertaining and transversal educational tool that aims to promote the concept of respect in sporting exchanges and in relationships created through sport, by putting the focus on the fun of playing together in an inclusive and peaceful environment.  

Members of the jury:

  • Carla Napolano, European Forum for Urban Security
  • Gian Guido Nobili, Italian Forum for Urban Security (Italy)
  • Anita Vlasveld, Knowledge Centre for Sports (Netherlands)
  • Salomon Aktan, Fan Coaching (Belgium)
  • Maria Isaura Almeida, Higher Institute of Police Sciences and Internal Security (Portugal)
  • Fernando Gimeno Marco, University of Saragossa (Spain)

The ceremony was held as part of the Euro 2016 Debates organised by the French Agency for Education Through Sport (Agence française pour l’éducation par le sport, APELS) on an initiative of the city of Saint-Denis (France). Afterwards, a debate was held on the theme, “Sport and culture: an impossible alliance?”, gathering artists and athletes. Participants emphasised that arts and sports can complement each other as part of education and crime prevention policies. They also stressed that sport can open access to culture and is in itself a form of culture.