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Sport and the integration of immigrants


Sport and the integration of immigrants

On International Migrants Day, Emanuele Grisanti of CSI Centro Sportivo Italiano (Italian Sport Centre) highlights the role of sport as a tool for integrating immigrants into Italian society.

In almost 70 years of experience, CSI has been struggling to endorse activities for integration through sports- integration is a concept that's still far away from being fully understood.

Specifically, Italy is a country which stands at the centre of the Mediterranean Sea and better represents (with Greece) the Olympic spirit of sport as a moment of competitive meeting among cultures.

Most of the migrants who enter Italy disperse to northern European countries; those who decide to stay in Italy may face:

• cultural resistance
• language misunderstandings
• disorientation, both cultural and institutional
• lack of confidence

These and many other barriers create the basis for a socially-exclusive environment. The European Commission underlines the importance of sports for cohesion between societies and cultures.

Sport provides citizens with opportunities to interact and join social networks; it helps immigrants to develop relations with other members of society; and it constitutes a tool for reaching out to the underprivileged or groups at risk of, or facing, discrimination. Through its contribution to economic growth and job creation, it can also help to revitalise disadvantaged areas. Some Member States already use sport as a tool and an indicator in their social policies, in the framework of the Open Method of Coordination on social protection and social inclusion.

Every sporting activity puts the athlete in a challenge with physical and rule limits; opponent teams or members are not properly a limit, but conditions through which efficacious actions towards victory develop.

CSI uses sport for the growth of social and educational objectives and our work with migrants is an extremely important part of this mission. In particular, we use football, volleyball, rugby, athletics and even chess, and run programmes to target migrants throughout Italy, specifically in regions with a high percentage of foreign immigration.


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Emanuele Grisanti


Monday, December 17, 2012 - 23:00