During June, the National Centre of Social Research (ΕΚΚΕ) together with ActionAid Hellas and with the support of Melissa Network of Migrant Women in Greece, organized the focus groups in Athens.
Within the framework of Dialect project, discussions and interviews took place regarding the perceptions towards football.
One of the groups was with representatives of public and municipal authorities, football experts, NGOs and CSO’s staff. According to one of them “in football but also in sports in general, there is a sense of unity“. In Greek society and internationally, football is traditionally the most beloved and most popular sport, it promotes unity, respect and solidarity and children are not divided, on the basis of their economic status or social class. “Everyone becomes ‘one’ in order to enjoy their favorite sport“. In the same mood another one noted that “it (football) gets them one ‘desire’, one aspiration … to succeed, one endeavor to do… to play“.
Focus groups with parents were also organised, while parallel to this & face – to- face interviews with migrant and non-migrant adolescents took place. Our aim was to underline the main opinions towards football. “All football matches should be like a friendly match. There should be competition and hard work but not violence. Violence offends sport and the fans” and “I’ve friends at school and also at the platia close to my house. We play football 2-3 times per week. We don’t go at the same school; we are not from the same country, but we meet and play. It is fun!” were some of the things youngsters told us.
What we noticed?
Football brings on a feeling of belonging and happiness in achieving goals. It includes many adolescents that feel excluded in their school environment or neighborhood, due to their nationality or socio-economic status.