Promotion of integration policies through sport

The program agreement MLPS - CONI (2014-2017)

The two-way nature of the integration process implies a mutual commitment of migrants so as of the host society and involves the full participation of migrant citizens in economic, social and cultural activities. As highlighted in the Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals, integration through participation is at the basis of the empowerment of people from a migrant background.

In this context awareness-raising campaigns are particularly relevant to promote and spread the culture of respect and coexistence between different people. Sports, thanks to the positive values that animate them, are engines of social inclusion and integration. The European Commission underlined how sports can potentially reach all people and contribute to the dissemination of concepts of peace, tolerance and mutual learning. Sports promote the encounter and dialogue among different communities, and develop a feeling of common belonging and respect for diversity.

A Programme Agreement between the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee) for the promotion of integration policies through sports was signed in 2014. The agreement aims to foster the social integration of migrants through sports, and to counter any forms of racial discrimination and intolerance.

In this framework sports play a driving role both in terms of spreading the culture of respect for diversities and for the promotion of a cultural evolution process, also thanks to the values of sports, the network of Sports Federations, Associations and Organizations, to testimonials, to events addressed to a vast audience, and to projects involving the youth.

A technical-scientific Committee composed by representatives of the world of culture and sports, drafted the “Manifesto on the topics of immigration, sportsand measures to contrast racial discrimination and intolerance”, a document which summarizes the integration core principles through sports. In the framework of the Program Agreement it was launched an awareness-raising campaign and a series of events for the dissemination of the contents of the Manifesto.

In December 2015 the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies and CONI renewed the agreement. The general aim of the new Agreement was to continue along the path undertaken, analyzing in depth the regulatory aspects concerning sport citizenship and spreading the contents of “Integration and Sport” through a communication and social awareness campaign.

In this framework an educational campaign for schools, in agreement with MIUR (Ministry of Education, University and Research), was addressed to primary school students participating in the project “Sport di Classe”. Owing to the educational path concerning the theme of integration through sport, classes realized a mini-project (a drawing for the first and second grade classes, and a story written in the form of a newspaper article for the third, fourth and fifth grade classes): through their drawings or texts, students thus shared their experiences and thoughts on sport, as a privileged means for integration. 55.000 mini-projects were realized, of which more than 1900 finalists, representing just as many schools. In the end, 104 schools won (one for each province), selected by the Regional Bodies for Sport in School (Organismi regionali per lo Sport a Scuola), in agreement with the Provincial Bodies. 

In the same year a call was launched throughout the territory in order to collect positive experiences in favoring inclusion and integration of first and second generation persons coming from a migratory context, as well as fighting discrimination in accessing sport and intolerance by enhancing diversity. Finally, “Meetings with the Champion” were organized throughout 2015 in ten Italian cities, where  testimonials of famous teams shared their stories and experiences explaining that, when playing the game of integration, sport is always the winning key.

In February 2016 it came into force the Law of 20th of January 2016, n. 12 on "Measures to promote social integration of foreign children residing in Italy through admission in sport federations". Article 1 of the law states: "Children under eighteen who are not Italian citizens and who are legally resident in Italian territory since they were at least 10 years old, may be allowed to enroll to sport clubs with the same procedures as for Italian citizens.

In continuity with the set of actions undertaken, the program agreement was renewed in 2016 with the aim of: developing a communication campaign based on the major social networks and on the promotion of events such as the “Sport and Integration Day” on the football field; promoting and encouraging the integration projects of sport societies and associations through the dissemination of their best practices in favor of integration; developing an educational campaign for secondary schools to promote the values of inclusion and integration; deepening and analyzing  the sporting mobility from non – EU countries.

The program agreement has been renewed in 2017 too. The actions to be realized in the current year are related to two fields: education/school (an educational campaign based on the concepts of inclusion and fair play, and a survey in secondary schools); sport (an integration campaign on the field and a contest, with 10 meetings in the territories involving experts, testimonials and youth).

Stay tuned!

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(last update: October 2017)