FIRE

How FIRE ties in with Romanian Football Federation ?

Wednesday 15 April 2020

How FIRE ties in with Romanian Football Federation ?

 

The Romanian Football Federation is the representative association of football in Romania, reuniting under its umbrella over 250 football entities: clubs, regional associations and football schools. Its membership with UEFA and FIFA grant a European and international networking with over 210 similar entities worldwide. Currently the football phenomenon in Romania comprises over 220.000 registered players and system of competitions for professionals and amateurs alike. The main participation objective of the Romanian Football Federation is reach by 2020 a total of 1,5% of the population and therefore special attention and dedicated competitions (over 13 new competitions in the last 4 years) have been developed on grassroots level.

Inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable categories

From the social perspective, the Romanian Football Federation gives a special attention to the inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable categories in the phenomenon and to the fight against racism, discrimination, hate speech. Since 2016 the Federation, together with other 10 partner organizations has developed an antidiscrimination strategy, focused on education, affirmative action, communication, monitoring and sanctioning. Furthermore, since 2016 special football programmes have been developed for DOWN Syndrome children (40 children involved currently) and since 2017 a blind national team has been established.(with the first blind football pitch built in 2018 at the premises of the Federation in Buftea). Community reconstruction and consolidation is also one of the Federations’ central priorities together with developing a volunteering culture in the country.

A network of dedicated partner organizations allowed the Federation to successfully implement and sustainably develop various football programs for marginalized and vulnerable cathegories. Mentionable are here the following programs and projects:

  • The support given to the Policy Center for Roma and Minorities in managing the ”Alternative Educational Clubs” – a football educational program focused on improving education for children from the 5th Districht of Bucharest, both boys and girls, and giving them the opportunity to practice football in a safe environment. The program was awarded in 2017 the UEFA Foundation Prise;
  • The ”Diversity Cup”, a football tournament organized every year in September in cooperation with the Department for Interethnic Relations of the Romanian Govermnent with the participation of 12 – 14 adult teams and 10 childrens teams from the organizatons of the ethnic minorities (Romania is home to 20 ethnic groups, other than Romanians). The football tournament is accompanied by an educational program that aims to promote the values of inclusion, diversity and cooperation between ethnic groups and by a cultural project, presenting the arts, tradition and football history of the ethnic minorities. The tournament is supported by UEFA through the Captains of Change Program;
  • The Youth Council, a leadership program dedicated to young community leaders interested in developing football programs for their communities. The program started in 2017 has now over 70 alumni and has been the inspiration for various projects implemented by the participants in their communities with or without a direct support of the Romanian Football Federation. The Youth Council has been awarded the Special Mention By the Jury of the UEFA GROW Awards 2018 and is since an example of good practice for other European football associations.

The image of refugees altered by media

Any contribution to the inclusion of refugees in Romania has to overcome a number of social barriers set by mentalities and prejudice. Unfortunately, the image of refugees has been altered by media, and people fleeing especially conflict zones from the Middle East have been described as aggressive and potential terrorist, bringing in their own laws based on violence and discrimination, not willing to integrate and using Romania only as a steppingstone on their way to the West. On the other hand, the image of Romania in the eyes of the refugees is not a positive one, according to credible sources, refugees avoid Romania because of a negative impression about the treatment received in the country and about the lack of hospitality of the Romanians. Another important factor that impacts football and refugees and football and foreigners is the reluctance of the public in accepting the naturalization of players in spite the fact that almost 30% of the football players of the 1st League have the citizenship of another 28 countries!

The efforts of the Romanian Football Federation are concentrated on organizing a football tournament for refugees and on positively communicating the examples of success, of those who are playing football in the Romanian clubs, if there is the case. A special attention is given to the facilitation of registration of refugees (children and adults) in the Romanian grassroots clubs.

Terre des hommes

During the past year, the Romanian Football Federation has initiates discussions with Terre des hommes for giving the refugee families and youth a dignified solution to cope with their lives in Romania. The solutions will be to provide protection services to respond to specific emergency situations by prioritizing safety and security for people living in tough conditions, which enhances their integration skills and empowers youth to navigate into adulthood. They get the most needed support in a transition period which will design the way of their future lives. The Romanian Football Federation will find solutions for dealing with refugees in cooperation with Terre des hommes.

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