"Creating a change in society thru sport": Monaliiku and H.O.T ry's roundtable
Monaliiku and H.O.T ry held a roundtable about “creating a change in society thru sports – focus on football at grassroots level” with major sport organisations invited on August 16th in Helsinki.
We all took advantage of this gathering to discuss about racism and lgbtphobia in football. Together, we tried to find ways to fight those issues.
For the occasion, we planned a small workshop to make the roundtable of professionals of their own field create and suggest recommendations on how to include more refugees and immigrant people in sports.
They had to vote for the most important obstacles they have seen for refugees women and immigrants to practise sport. The could choose between:
- Lack of information
- Religion and cultural aspects
- Fear of discrimination
- Lack of cooperation between sport clubs
- Language barrier
- Going out of comfort zone
Three obstacles came first: lack of information, religion and cultural aspects and fear of discrimination. To resolve the "lack of information" issue, professionals suggested to go where the target group is (for example refugee centers and organizations). They pointed out the importance of meeting the target groups face to face instead intermediary or social media. Information should be handed “hand to hand” so that it is confirmed that the target group gets the first touch of the activities and those who organize them.
For the "fear of discrimination" and "religious and cultural aspects" issues, the roundtable suggested to support athletes who, for example, dress differently and follow different religions and cultures. The roundtable felt that it is important to show that all kind of clothing (including hijabs and covering clothes) are allowed in sports. This should create a positive attributes for clubs themselves, athletes and refugees/ immigrants who might consider to join.
The round table saw importance to spread awareness about what can be done to be more inclusive and diversity and to show and teach sport clubs on how to create a safe and welcoming space for everybody.
This roundtable was very instructing and we thank all participants for their interesting insights and suggestions.