Balon Mundial world cup celebrates the contributions of migrants in Italy09 June 2017

From10Juneanduntil16July,theItaliancityofTurinwillhostoneofthelargestfootballandsocialinclusionamateurtournamentsinEurope, combiningsport,cultureandactivisminthesamespaceandcounteringexclusionthroughsport.

The 11th edition of Balon Mundial’s migrants’ world cup will celebrate the contributions of migrants to the Italian society.

Year after year the event brings together over 1000 participants from migrant and refugee backgrounds, and locals, to play football, exchange cultures and socialise.

This year a record number of 41 teams will contest the men’s (32 teams) and women’s (nine teams) tournaments and for the first time refugee women’s teams will participate.

On the importance of the tournament fro migrants Pedro Montoya, a Peruvian social worker and former international player, said: “Playing football is a way of fighting solitude for our players and it also helps them in many ways on what goes on outside the pitch.”

In the run up to the tournament, Balon Mundial organised Football Communities, a football tournament that ran throughout six Sundays in April and May and in which the winner secured a place for June’s world cup.

Football Communities involved 16 social centres for asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in Turin, using football to: reduce the marginalisation and discrimination towards migrants and refugees; create a new space that promotes a social and cultural exchange through football; increase the number of opportunities for refugees; increase the number of social events for refugees and strengthen links with the local and migrant communities; promote sport as a tool for well-being, education and citizenship; and, help change a negative perception on refugees across the media.

The refugee team Terremondo, winner of Football Communities, will contest the world cup in a Fare branded gear as part of Fare longstanding support to the work of Balon Mundial in promoting the social inclusion of marginalised and disenfranchised communities through football.

The upcoming tournament was presented to the media on Wednesday 7 June in Turin, calling on football enthusiasts in the Piedmont region to join the celebrations.