Football tournament to combat poverty and promote inclusion held in Brussels09 May 2013

Four European amateur football teams participated in the “Football4Friendship” tournament in Brussels, on Friday 3rd May, invited by Lívia Járóka MEP

The competition, which aimed to raise awareness of the prominent role of sports in combatting poverty and in building of a European identity, was made up of four amateur teams of players from Sopron, a city in western Hungary, former professional footballers, officials of EU institutions and Roma migrants in Belgium.

Lívia Járóka became the first Roma MEP to be elected to the European parliament and is known for her campaigning work on behalf of one of Europe's most disenfranchised communities.

As organiser of the event Jaroka was keen to underline the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and the development of a unified sense of identity, the activity also intended to raise awareness on the importance of sport as a tool for inclusion, education and employment for disadvantaged communities.

“Their involvement in competitive or mass sport would not only improve their physical and mental health but would also serve as an effective tool for social inclusion and education.

The extension of the sporting sector can also be used as an employment tool, particularly in disadvantaged regions”, said the rapporteur of the EU strategy on Roma inclusion and organizer of the tournament.