Our vision is to build a society where fair-play is played on and off the pitch. To do so, we transform the football pitch into a platform for dialogue, self-development and conflict prevention. Imagine a football league where fair-play and dialogue count as much as the goals scored. Where people from different social backgrounds, ages, gender, and opinions meet regularly and are able to play and sort their differences amongst themselves. This is our league of fair-play football (“LFF”).
Czech Republic, regions: Prague, Pilsen, Olomouc, Ostrava, Ústí nad Labem and Karlovy Vary.
We work together with a network of around 30 youth and social centers. Those centers are mostly situated in the peripheries of the large cities where we are present. In those peripheries, the young population is facing several types of risk, which hinders their emotional and social development. Those young people are more at risk of discrimination due to their ethnic, financial, or geographical backgrounds. They are also more at risk of falling into non-social activities such as petty crimes, substance abuse, or youth violence due to the lack of adapted educational measures, unfavorable family situations, and non-empowering living conditions.
Civic spaces are often only accessible to a certain bubble of society and are often considered once people are already educated or adopting certain values. Few civic spaces exist for the most vulnerable ones and for which no prior conditions are required (education, role models, positive peer influence, finance, urban location). In order to strengthen democracy and citizenship among a vast majority of the population, we need to redefine the traditional civic spaces and use popular pull factors. Our idea uses football which from its roots is democratic. It is popular, accessible, free, easy to play and inclusive. Once you transform it into a zone for dialogue, conflict prevention, expression and empowerment, it has the potential in becoming a vibrant civic space.
Our primary target group includes around 500 young people aged 12 to 18 and living mostly in the peripheries of large cities or in isolated parts of the country. Those young people from diverse social backgrounds are mostly at risk of discrimination and isolation. These young people are encouraged to express themselves while adhering to fair-play rules, on an off the pitch. Also, they are encouraged to take the initiative, to lead others by example. First, they play, after they can also become mediators, people who help to facilitate the matches while there are no referees. Nearing the end of the cycle they can board the Young Leaders program. On their way, they will be confronted with many tasks and different opinions, our non-formal education should help them to make a good choice.
Our project is constructed in a yearly cycle:
1. Coordination meeting with the regional coordinators (end of January)
2. Training of mediators & social workers (March)
3. Workshops in the regions for players (March – April)
4. Regional leagues of fair-play football (January – June & September to November)
5. National final with the winners of each fair-play leagues (September)
6. Evaluation meeting with the regional coordinators and representative social workers (October)
7. Impact measurement activities (March – November)
8. PR activities (January – December)
This cycle allows us to keep a quality standard in the activities we run. It also guarantees certain sustainability as we provide regular training to new and established social workers.
Increase in social cohesion thanks to the methodology focusing on the dialogue between players.
Decrease in youth rivalry and more social sensitivity and integration thanks to a regular encounter of youth from different social backgrounds and geographical locations.
Increase in gender equality and consideration of girls by boys. More active participation and acceptance of girls in the teams thanks to the specific inclusive nature of our game that rewards non-discriminatory behaviour.
Increase forms of community role-modelling as the participants take on leadership roles and become active and responsible citizens within their communities.
Increase in the self-confidence of participants through regular participation in a trusted, non-judging, and motivational space for expression.
Football is a democratic tool and as such allows people enough freedom within certain rules. If you can adhere to those rules while being able to find your own way, your own path, using your creativity, your ideas and even your own rules, while working with and respecting others, then you are on the right track and it makes you a stronger, and even better, person. We believe that in the current political climate, this society with people able to stand on their feet is extremely important and with our activities we are contributing to this process. This is extremely important in countries with a relatively young democracy, as is the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia. That is why we put special emphasis on our partners in Visegrad countries, where we have common projects running.
We have football in our DNA but things like caring about others, developing and sharing great ideas, passion for leading the way maybe even more. As noted earlier, football is a great platform for almost anything and as to our experience from all around the world, it works, sometimes even wonders. We did a good share of work on this project already and we can already see what it brings to people, almost irrelevant whether they like football or not. It just changes the whole mood around, brings people together, lets them connect in a different way, lets them try new things, and meet new people with eyes wide open. This usually opens their hearts too. While we sometimes do make mistakes and obviously not everything is always perfect, we never give up to achieve our goal.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Staff cost 26 860 EUR 54 %
PR Services 7 840 EUR 16 %
Transportation 2 500 EUR 5 %
Accommodation 2 000 EUR 4 %
Catering 1 500 EUR 3 %
Rent 2500 EUR 5 %
Material, equipment 1800 EUR 4 %
Indirect costs 5000 EUR 10 %
Any kind of feedback is more than welcome. Sharing experience and being able to see other submitted projects is very valuable and useful. If we are not selected, we would welcome comments on what can be improved for the next time.