The Conference “Integration of Migrants into Society through Football” was held on Saturday at the Safir Hotel in Bihać.
The Conference was opened by the FF BH executive director for sports sector, Elmir Pilav, who said, among other things:
“Apart from our desire to include migrants in society and alleviate the difficult situation in which they are, we want to enable, especially the youngest ones, to register in local clubs and play football. The Project “Integration of Migrants through Football”, which was approved by UEFA, is divided into two phases. The first is about organizing events in camps, and the second one is getting involved in clubs, and in this way this Project could bring benefits in the long run.”
Project leader Dženan Đipa presented this initiative of the Football Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the attendees.
“Our primary goal is to integrate migrants into society, and we will do everything to make them life easier in the camps, using the popularity of football. Our idea is to organize tournaments, trainings and various workshops related to fair-play, refereeing, fun football for children, etc. In the camps “Borići”, “Bira” and “Sedra”, which we visited yesterday, there is space to organize everything we planned”, said Đipa.
IOM (International Organization for Migration) representative Kristina Šešlija spoke about the legal-administrative and security aspects related to the project implementation.
Des Tomlinson from the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and Kurt Wacher and David Hudelist, representatives of fair-play – Initiative for Diversity & Antidiscrimination from Austria, presented their experiences on similar projects via a video link.
All present actively participated in the discussions, exchanged opinions and views, and presented many constructive proposals with a view to further implementation of the project.
Šerif Šidić, member of the Executive Board of the USC Sports Association and the FF BH grassroots coordinator conveys their impressions of the meeting:
“Excellent Conference at which many constructive proposals were presented. I am glad to have seen a lot of relevant people here today, who will certainly be able to do a lot to implement the FF BH Project. We had the opportunity to learn some new things and through the discussion it became clear that everyone is more than interested in this idea. This is the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina where the concentration of migrants is the highest and we must all work to help these people integrate into society as easily as possible.”
The OFK Bihać representative, Armin Kečalović, stated:
“The FF BH Project is really great and all clubs from the area of Una-Sana Canton will support it to the maximum. I really hope that the idea will succeed and that things will go in the best direction. Today’s Conference is organized at a high level. I am sure that this is just the beginning of a great initiative and that we will start its implementation very soon.”
Representatives of the city administrations of Bihać and Cazin, the USK MIA, the USC Sports Association, the USC Football Federation, the USC Association of Football Referees and Instructors, as well as clubs NK “Jedinstvo”, OFK “Bihać”, and NK “Krajišnik” responded to the invitation to the Conference.