Recognising the need to tackle the challenges posed by refugee flows affecting Europe at large, 4 organisations from 4 EU countries, joined forces in a collaborative partnership under the EU ERASMUS+ sport program to launch the project “Crossing the Boundaries through Sport (CrosSport)”.

‘When we presented our project proposal to the European Union, the world, Europe in particular, was looking very different.We were focusing mainly on refugees flows from the Middle-East and North Africa towards Europe. Today’s 7.5 million refugee from Ukraine, out of them mainly women children, were still living in their homes, safely.

But the power of sport remains the same and, jointly with our partners, Sevilla FC and Lazio SS foundations, IOTC, the European Union and hopefully many others, we are determined to make the best possible use of it to alleviate the despair and the suffering refugees are exposed to. This is what the CrosSport project, “Crossing the Boundaries through Sport”aims to achieve”, underlined Massimiliano Montanari, CEO of ICSS and Save the Dream.

The CrosSport project’s official launch took place during the European Week of Sport on the 30th of September in Lisbon, hosted by the National Olympic Committee of Portugal, and consists of a project kick-off session with project partners, relevant international and national institutions such as the International Organization for Migration and the Portuguese Institute for Sport and Youth, and a “refugees-led sharing talk”, which gathers four testimonies representing the refugee’s communities identified by project partners.

Today’s current and dramatic events stress, more than ever, the need to adopt innovative measures and CrosSport’s pioneering approach aims at exploring new avenues for reception, inclusion and integration of refugees in our societies by using the power of sport.

The CrosSport project is designed and implemented by a coalition of organizations, which includes:

  • International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) EUROPE (Portugal) which will coordinate the project within the framework of its Save the Dream initiative
  • International Olympic Truce Centre – IOTC (Greece)
  • Fundación Sevilla Fútbol Club (Spain)
  • Fondazione Lazio 1900 (Italy)

The project’s main deliverables during the 24 months’ implementation of CrosSport are:

§ Reference framework and networking through focus groups where experts will discuss and share knowledge and best practices on how to use sport as a tool of inclusion.

§ Methodology Handbook on how to achieve a strengthened cooperation between sport organizations and integration-focused social development organizations and to increase community participation of youth refugees through the attractiveness of sport activities.

§ Educational programmes for the creation of two figures: a “Community Leader for Inclusion through Sport (CLIS)”, and “Sport for Inclusion Activist (SIA)” within the refugee community.

“Sport plays an indisputable role to build bridges between communities, inspiring people and decision makers to overcome physical and cultural boundaries to foster social integration of refugees and ethnic minorities.

I believe CrosSport will deliver a comprehensive programme to build capacity of those engaged in this paramount challenge”, commented João Paulo Almeida Diretor, Geral, National Olympic Committee of Portugal.

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