The award is the first to recognise the efforts of Japanese youth looking to work in Japan and overseas to empower and bring communities together, promote social inclusion and tackle discrimination through the unique power of football.
A panel of eleven judges, which included the former Japan national team player Tsuyoshi Kitazawa, selected the four finalist projects. The four initiatives will be presented at the conference on 26 August and the winner will receive a money prize of 100,000 JPY (around 800 euros) to implement the project.
The projects include: “Helping Refugees in Japan through Soccer”, an initiative offering football sessions for refugees as means for integration in Japanese society; “Nexus Cup”, a series of matches and football tournaments for migrants and local communities in Japan; “Anti-Discrimination World Cup”, a tournament aimed at addressing all forms of discrimination; and, “Bringing about Physical Education and Dreams to villages in Nepal”, an initiative aimed at providing physical education classes and sport opportunities for children in Nepal.
The conference will also debate international initiatives such as Fare campaigns on diversity and inclusion in football, UEFA Football Social Responsibility programmes, and the Homeless World Cup.
The conference is being funded as part of the Fare Global Grants scheme and is supported by the Japan Football Association and Professional Football League, Adidas Japan, Techno Art, Inc. and Tokyo/ QuickHelpJapan, Inc.
Sport For Smile is a Japanese NGO which uses sports and sports focused events to promote social inclusion and create opportunities for disadvantaged communities.