Finnish organisations meet to discuss sport for the inclusion of migrants

Sixty delegates representing government sport programmes in Finland, met last Friday (10 April) in Helsinki, to further discussions on the role of sport to promote the social inclusion of immigrants.

The screening of the Eric Cantona's documentary Les Rebelles du Foot, on the stories of five football heroes whose social conscience led them to challenge unfair regimes, was the starting point for discussions around the theme.

Nicky Verschragen of the anti-racism NGO RASMUS ry presented the online reporting forum through which hate speech can be reported during the ongoing parliamentary election campaign in Finland. After the elections on 19 April, the reports will be assessed and analysed and the results subsequently published.

Among the event's attendees were the Finnish minister of sport Carl Haglund, African Cup winner and former Nigeria women's national team player Ayisat Yusuf-Aromire and former HJK Helsinki Nigerian player Aniche Obiora.

"It’s a shame [that sports is so underused]," said Haglund, adding "since it would be a very powerful tool that’s fun as well [to help migrants become a part of society]."

The Finnish minister also stressed the importance of organisations representing migrants participating in governmental sporting programmes and through these promote their social participation and action.

Drawing from his experience, Finnish Parliament candidate Ahmed Hassan shared with the delegates the difficulties he experienced when trying to find public support for the Finnish Somali Sports Federation.

The gathering was organised by the Finnish Fare member Liikkukaa as part of their work to encourage the sharing of expertise in the field and addressing exclusion and discrimination in Finland.

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