Etnoliga finals bring excitement to Warsaw09 December 2016

EightteamscontestedthelastdayofplayoffsofPoland’slargestinterculturalfootballleagueastheWarsaw-basedtournament,comprisedofrefugees,migrantsandpeoplewithnorecognisedstatus,cametoanendonSunday11December.

The eight remaining mixed teams featured players from countries including Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Togo, Guinea, Iran, Spain, Belarus and Georgia, who joined the tournament to play football while strengthening links and exchanging experiences between different cultures.

In each team a multitude of stories portray the differences in approach and background of those taking part. While Islam from Chechnya is working hard to become a professional goalkeeper in Poland, Farzam, born in Iran, continues his studies in Warsaw and dreams about a career as a chess player. Anna from Poland has joined the tournament’s leading female scorers with 16 goals in nine matches.

During the group stages, the teams competed on and off the pitch as presentations on diversity, solidarity and inclusion and cultural initiatives also counted to the final score.

Krzysztof Jarymowicz, project coordinator, said: “This time the tournament was very focused on the social aspect of football. Turkish players presented a Beşiktaş fans initiative that collected funds for the victims of the Italian earthquake. We saw speeches about fan owned clubs in England, refugee players and teams, take place, as well as about the football scene in Somalia or the Legia fans anti-fascist initiative T202.”

Workshops with sports psychologists and tours around Warsaw were among other initiatives also organised by teams.

The 13th edition of the Etnoliga, an initiative organised by the Fare member Fundacja dal Wolności, kicked-off on Sunday 25 September. A total of 18 teams played the 13th edition of the tournament which brought together almost 300 players, men and women, from 60 countries.

Supplied by Etnoliga

Supplied by Etnoliga