Euro Football 2018: Football inside prison walls

5 July 2018

Euro Football 2018: Football inside prison walls

On 22 June, two EFDN member clubs participated in a very special tournament: It took place inside a prison in Dordrecht (The Netherlands) and brought together detainees, ex-detainees and different stakeholders in the security sector. 

The Dutch prison in Dordrecht hosted the third edition of Euro Football Festival in cooperation with the Dutch Justice Department. The tournament is part of the Dutch Sport Works programme. This sport based employability and re-socialisation programme is organised by the Dutch Justice department in cooperation with numerous grassroots and professional football clubs and other sports clubs in the Netherlands. To qualify for the final tournament, the detainees need to prove that they are motivated to take real steps in their re-socialisation process.

Next, to the teams of detainees of different Dutch prisons, the other participating teams consisted of people working in the social sector, of former detainees, former professional footballers and employees of the Custodial Institutions Department. EFDN members FC Schalke 04 (Germany) participated with employees from the fans, security and CSR-department and the Irish Bohemian Foundation participated with a team of former detainees. There was also a Belgian team from De Rode Antraciet, which dedicates itself to sports and cultural activities in Belgian prisons. The other teams were a team with the guards of the prison of Dordrecht, the Goal Foundation and a team of FC de Rebellen. FC de Rebellen (the rebels) is a team of famous former professional football players who had conflicts with the law or who became addicted. Former Belgium and Dutch Internationals Jean-Marie Pfaff, Andy van der Meijde and Sjaak Polak were part of the FC de Rebellen team in the tournament.

The team of the Goal Foundation won the final against FC de Rebellen 4 – 1. The main aim of the Goal Foundation is to accompany football talents from detention to a football club that suits them. The Foundation ambassadors are former football players John van Loen and Jeff Stans.

Workshops and networking

In addition to the competition, multiple workshops and best practices were presented by EFDN member Fulham FC Foundation and Feltham Prison, who presented their projects and gave new insights in their workshop. Furthermore, the Dutch Re-Integration Centre (RIC) presented their programmes and possibilities for Dutch detainees. The participants of the tournament also had the chance to share knowledge and experiences, of course.

Cooperation EFDN and Dutch Justice Department

At the tournament, representatives of EFDN and the Dutch Justice Department expressed their intention to set up a cooperation for the organisation of next years Sport Works Euro Football Festival. Both organisations are confident that because of the cooperation, the event can grow in the following years so it can welcome more teams for this special target group and have a bigger social impact in the participants lives.


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