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Call for articles: Can sport be part of the solution to the refugee crisis?

Call for articles: Can sport be part of the solution to the refugee crisis?

What is sport’s role in the ongoing refugee crisis? is looking for article contributions on the subject.

According to the UNHCR, there are now almost 60 million refugees worldwide – an all-time high. Most are fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.

The war in Syria, in particular, has been responsible for displacing large numbers of people. Half of the population has been uprooted, with four million leaving the country and seven million internally displaced.

Lebanon and Jordan now have the world’s highest per capita ratio of refugees. With refugees making up more than one quarter of the population, Lebanon in particular has been affected and some have expressed concerns that tensions threaten stability in a country with its own history of conflict.

The number of people trying to reach Europe has been rising sharply since 2012 . In 2014, approximately 219,000 people tried to cross the Mediterranean to seek asylum in Europe. In just the first eight months of 2015, the number was more than 300,000. Over 2,500 have died trying.

The response from governments has been varied. Some, such as Germany and Sweden, have agreed to grant asylum to large numbers, especially from Syria. Others, including the UK and Hungary, have taken a tougher approach. Meanwhile, there are countries in the region that have not accepted refugees at all.

The general public has also been divided. In Germany, for example, many people have shown compassion by greeting refugees at train stations with food, drinks and applause, while football fans have held “refugees welcome” signs at stadiums across the country. On the other hand, those claiming that “the boat is full” have been vocal at times, while attacks on asylum centres are on the increase.

When confronted with such a large humanitarian crisis, can sport really contribute to the solution? Well, it is. Here are a few examples:

  • Clubs and federations have pledged money and started programmes while professional sport is being used to promote anti-racism messages and campaigns for a humanitarian response to the crisis
  • Sport programmes in refugee camps are providing psychosocial support, improving health and offering other benefits
  • Participation in sport is being used to promote integration and provide refugees with the skills needed for gaining jobs and succeeding in employment

Submit an article

If you would like to write on this topic, then we’d love to hear from you. We welcome a variety of article types, from personal stories and experiences to opinion pieces and commentaries . Please contact with your idea and we will discuss next steps.

We request that articles are submitted by 18:00 (CET) on Thursday 8 October 2015. Articles should not exceed 400 words and should be written with’s How to Write for News and Views guide in mind.

Writing for allows you to highlight your work in S&D, improve your writing skills and increase your visibility within the sport and development community. All those interested are welcome to submit articles at any time; just set up a Team Player profile and post your article, event or digital media.


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Paul Hunt


Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 10:00