21 June 2022


This Monday 20 June 2022, it was the ‘International Day of Refugees’. To ask for understanding for refugees and to celebrate their contributions to peace, FC Emmen Naoberschap organised a special sports and games afternoon.

About a hundred young refugees were hosted at De Oude Meerdijk on this sunny afternoon. They were picked up by the FC Emmen players’ bus and taken to the stadium. In the stadium all sorts of games were organised, such as throwing rings, hockey, taking an assault course and playing football.

Together with service club Round Table 55 Emmen, FC Emmen Naoberschap offered many football activities for war children from Ukraine and also children from the Emmen refugee centre. Above all, it had to be a very nice day for the young visitors to De Oude Meerdijk. None other than the Mayor of Emmen, Eric van Oosterhout, kicked off the ‘International Refugee Day’ with an opening word. At least a hundred children listened attentively and were then able to take part in football clinics and other fun activities.

During ‘International Refugee Day’ it is important to draw attention to the plight of people who are forced to flee their homes for various reasons. Together with EFDN and the programme ‘Welcome to Our Football’, FC Emmen wants to use sport as a means to draw attention to the integration of young refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Thus, in addition to this special day, more is done for refugees in the area.

“We organise all kinds of projects here in the region. Including with refugees. For example, we provide training twice a week at the asylum seekers’ centre in Emmen and try to do our bit in this way. This way, we can help them in their development and we can put a smile back on the faces of the refugees.”(…) “Children really need days like this.” The children cannot go on an autograph hunt because the FC Emmen players are still on holiday. “But with the people who are here, we also make it a very nice day.”

Marcel Sulmann, project leader of the event

The day ended with a splendid performance by Mike and Luuk of StreetSkills. They are freestylers who can do all sorts of tricks with the ball. With loud cheering, they showed one trick after another to the participants in the centre circle. Then the day really came to an end and everyone left on the FC Emmen players’ bus.

Welcome Through Football is an EFDN initiative. Current projects across Europe receive funding from the Eramus+ programme of the European Union and the UEFA Foundation for Children.

The Welcome Through Football 2021 project, with FC Emmen as one of its partners, aims to assist in the integration and inclusion of recently arrived young refugees, asylum seekers and young people with a migrant background. EFDN and partners will develop and test a European methodology that uses football as a tool to reach refugees and migrants of different ages (7-25 years old) to get them physically and social active in European communities.

Moreover, the project assists football coaches and youth workers in the development and sharing of effective methods in reaching out to the marginalised target group, in preventing racism and intolerance.


  1. Socialisation to sports – providing different football offerings for young refugees of both genders related to their specific requirements such as language skills or the possibility of trauma.
  2. Socialisation in sports – working on team structure, giving more responsibility to the participants and offering additional steps out with the sports training sessions.
  3. Socialisation through sports – Focusing on the skills the participants learn from taking part in the available offers so that they qualify for further education in and outside of sports.