The previous month all entities taking part in Dialect project (organizations from Greece, Italy, Hungary, Serbia, and Germany) met online to discuss on the projects progress, results, and next steps.
Throughout the two-day meetings the main results of all countries research, led by the National Centre of Social Research (EKKE), were discussed.
Among those the most important were that youths are highly vulnerable and susceptible to populist parties’ campaigns, which tend to simplify complex realities, disseminate political cynicism and increase racial stereotypes. Moreover, there is a need for powerful and innovative tools for community building within the space of social and political polarization. Sports in general and football provide opportunities to developing such tools.
Research results underlined football’s positive impact on young people’s sense of self, and appreciation for and engagement with peers from diverse backgrounds. Research has also revealed unanticipated connections between participation in football activities and learning foreign languages, positive engagement with school, and building self-confidence.
On the other hand, strong persistence of prejudices towards players, referees, coaches or managers was noticed. In addition to the problem of gender-based discrimination. Racism in football in all partner countries was noticed to have cultural roots. Making clear that the weapon to combat racism cannot only be repression, but intervention from a cultural and educational point of view.
In all four countries aspects of racism, intolerance and xenophobia promoted against the acceptance of “otherness” and multiculturalism at community level, were identified and witnessed. These affect not only migrants and women but, all kinds of ‘different others’.
Within this framework, and since young people are extremely attracted by football and shaped by values surrounding it, Dialect seems to be on the right track to set the grounds for changes in the sport. What means, creating and promoting a more viable football form, where we could play all together being open and solidary. And in this way, also shaping our communities in similar basis.