Blog: “Nowadays, we’re passing through a tough period in Italy”17 September 2019


The #FootballPeople weeks bring together people from all over the world during a two-week period celebrating diversity and social inclusion. As grassroots groups begin to plan their activities, some of those involved give us their perspectives on what you can expect to see in 2019.

Here is Gian Marco Duina, vice-president of Altropallone ASD Onlus.

Altropallone ASD Onlus, Milan, Italy, Gian Marco Duina 

“Altropallone ASD Onlus are a grassroots club from Italy whose goal is to use the language of sport to promote multiculturalism as a tool for social cohesion and inclusion. For the Football People weeks, we will be leading a seminar on the topic of ‘Sport and human rights’.

Nowadays, we’re passing through a tough period in Italy. Episodes of racism and xenophobia are happening more and more often and in sport from grassroots level up to Serie A. We witness it daily through what happens with African players in our leagues.

The issue doesn’t just show up in football, but is also due to a political situation that points the fingers at migrants. Racism and xenophobic ideas are therefore spreading much more easily than before, affecting sport and football.

‘The weeks give us strength and hope’

Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t stop at shouts or insults but gets deeper and deeper in laws and rules. The last decree-law launched by the government – named the ‘Security decree’ – forbids asylum seekers from acquiring a certificate of residence which is compulsory to be allowed to play in a regular sports federation in Italy. So, basically, if things don’t change, asylum seekers won’t be allowed to practice sport in an official league.

For these reasons we consider it crucial to try and educate people in Italy through sport.

Our #FootballPeople weeks seminar is also being supported by a community foundation, the Fondazione di Comunità Milano. The workshop will have topics including ‘Gender Equality in Sport’, ‘Sport and Migration’, ‘Sport and Ethics’ and more.

We are very excited to be part of an event as big as the Football People weeks because it makes us feel involved in something much bigger than ourselves. It gives us strength and hope!”

The Football People weeks will take place from 10-24th October, with 150,000+ people taking part in Europe’s largest sports initiative for social change. You can still be a part of it and organise an activity. Learn more and register your activity here.