The Finnish Immigration Service and the Players Union have been taking the world’s most popular sport already since 2013 to spice up asylum seekers’ daily lives at refugee reception centres.
Finnish Championship tournament between refugee reception centres in the summer
In addition to football schools organised at refugee reception centres, the summer programme features the Finnish Championship tournament for refugee reception centres. The tournament is organised in a fine setting at the Eerikkilä Sports Institute in Tammela. Several refugee reception centres, such as Oulu, Kemi, Rovaniemi, Joutseno, Turku, Mänttä-Vilppula, Kotka, Helsinki, Pudasjärvi, Espoo, Vaasa, Oravainen and Lammi, have taken part in the tournament.
“All Finnish national teams have been at a training camp at Eerikkilä, and also a lot of players of foreign origin taken part. The refugee reception centre teams get to play in the same environment where Finnish star players have their camps. The Eerikkilä Sports Institute is a training centre for all Finnish football,” Markus Juhola, Executive Director of the Players Union, stresses.
“This kind of two-day event is a refreshing counterbalance to the daily life of refugee reception centres. The residents and employees of different refugee reception centres get to meet each other, on and off the pitch. We are proud that this tradition continues and we are a part of it. Our “Football belongs to all of us” theme becomes concrete in the best way possible,” Juhola adds.