Celebrating FutbolNet in Greece

An innovative project DRC looks to expand


The end of FutbolNet, a sports methodology for social intervention created by the Barça Foundation, was celebrated early July in Larissa city, where it was implemented by the Danish Refugee Council and its partners in Greece.

During the three-hour celebration attended by parents, the Deputy Mayor of Larissa, and Municipality and KETHEA staff, children participated in a dance show, the choreography of which symbolized how diversity can unite people and played an interactive game and a football match using the FutbolNet methodology.

FutbolNet aimed to strengthen the physical and social development of children and promote the integration and acceptance of refugees in three locations in mainland Greece, in close collaboration with local partners from day one.

In Larissa, DRC Greece cooperated with KETHEA EXODOS, the Municipality of Larisa City and the ESTIA housing programme led by the UNHCR in Greece. In the city of Trikala, FutbolNet was implemented in cooperation with the e-Trikala Municipal Development Agency and the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science of the University of Thessaly. In northern Greece, DRC cooperated with the local Parents and Guardians Association of Lagadikia.

This was the first time FC Barcelona Foundation collaborated with an International NGO for the implementation of FutbolNet. During the project, 38 local and 56 refugee children from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries, participated in 52 sessions and worked on the FutbolNet values: Effort, respect, teamwork, humility and ambition.

FutbolNet methodology is unique and involves children in each step. Supported by trained coaches, the children set their own rules before each game with to the aim of boosting the participation of all those participating in the games. During a match, there are no referees, and the children are accountable for playing by their own rules. The winner is always the team that tries the hardest and plays by the rules.

"Children work very well with values through this project and we can see real changes in their behavior,” says Alexia Latsou, non-formal education coordinator for DRC Greece.

“In DRC, we are already discussing how we could further extend the project to benefit more children,” she adds.

The FutbolNet project was implemented by the Danish Refugee Council in Greece, as part of the “Improving the Greek Reception System through Site Management Support and Targeted Interventions in Long-Term Accommodation Sites” project, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and supported by the European Union's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and Directorate General Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission (DG HOME). 

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