Great emotions accompanied the finals of Etnoliga – Poland’s largest multicultural football league
Eight of 18 teams got to the last day of the playoffs. They featured players from Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Togo, Guinea, Iran, Spain, Belarus, Georgia and many more, who joined the tournament to play football while strengthening links and exchanging experiences between different cultures.
In each team a multitude of stories portray the differences in approach and background of those taking part. Some of them just stop by in Poland, some of them find a new home here. Eventually, Egyptian-Polish team “Gladiators” won the tournament after a close-run final match against Alternative Sport club “Zly”. The top female scorer was Anna of “The Pro’s” with 21 goals in twelve matches, and the Fair Play Trophy went to “Pazdzierzanka” for zero penalties throughout the season and cheering on other teams.
During the group stages, the teams competed on and off the pitch as presentations on diversity, solidarity and inclusion and cultural initiatives also counted to the final score.
Krzysztof Jarymowicz, project coordinator, said:
This time we strictly focused on the social aspect of football. Turks presented Beşiktaş fans who organized funding for earthquake victims. We saw speeches about English clubs owned by supporters, refugee players and teams, take place, as well as about the football scene in Somalia or the Legia fans anti-fascist initiative T202.
Workshops with sports psychologist and meetings around Warsaw were among other initiatives.
The 13th edition of the Etnoliga, an initiative organised by the Fare member Fundacja dla Wolności, kicked-off on Sunday 25 September. A total of 18 teams played in the tournament which brought together almost 300 players, men and women, from 60 countries.