More than Football Award 2021 Shortlist announced

5 October 2021

More than Football Award 2021 Shortlist announced

The European Football for Development Network (EFDN) is proud to present the four projects of FC Twente, PFC Ludogorets, FC Barcelona Foundation, and Big Hearts Community Trust of Heart of Midlothian FC that have been selected for the shortlist of the More than Football Award 2021. The winner receives not only recognition for having implemented the most innovative and impactful Community and Social Responsibility programme in European football, but also wins a complete branded Mini-Pitch System modular sports solution which will be developed in partnership between the winning organisation, EFDN, and sponsor Musco Lighting.

The applicants selected for the shortlist are invited to make a 15-minute presentation of their project at the upcoming 16th EFDN “#Morethanfootball” Conference which will be organised as a hybrid event in Breda, The Netherlands, from 9th – 10th November. After all four presentations, the attending EFDN members will choose the winning organisation. Clubs, Leagues and FAs can register for the conference here.

Shortlisted Projects

FC Twente – Integration of the Turkish community in Twente

With the objective of attaining social inclusion and developing harmony within the larger community in the region of Twente, the area around Dutch city Enschede, FC Twente has taken on the responsibility of integrating Turkish individuals and families into the Dutch society. It is reported that many people of Turkish ethnicity lag behind in language skills and knowledge of/interaction with the local Dutch culture as some families within the Turkish community isolate themselves from society. Their own culture is leading and the Dutch culture comes second.

This circle can be broken if the community, the immigrant community, takes action itself with support from a neutral football club FC Twente to develop a sense of urgency within its own circle and to take and support initiatives to improve and intensify socio-cultural integration.

According to the project’s main objectives, improvement of Dutch language proficiency, active involvement in cultural nuances, and orientation towards Dutch institutions/labour market are priorities in the approach. The essence of this approach is that the Turkish community itself takes the initiative in socio-cultural integration.

Keeping this in mind, the club has carried out the integration project successfully over the period of three years – supporting the socio-cultural integration of 51 participating families, accounting for 130 individuals across genders and age groups. This was done under FC Twente, scoring in the neighbourhood, the social foundation that is working for residents in the Twente region who could use an extra helping hand.

Research of the University of Twente showed that participants’ command of the Dutch language has improved considerably. 21% of the participants indicate that their language proficiency has improved greatly and 67% that it has improved slightly and that their knowledge of the Netherlands has improved considerably.

As far as social participation is concerned, the evaluation shows that participants have actively and partly successfully searched for paid or voluntary work: 19 participants have so far obtained a paid job and/or voluntary work thanks to the project and one participant has opened their own business.

FC Twente is unique, with a neutral role and enormous appeal, which has managed to get the Turkish community in Twente moving by means of customization. This resulted in the participation of many Turkish families from several generations, who have lived in the Netherlands for years or decades, and have actually taken steps and are still working to better integrate into Dutch society. A great platform has emerged from scratch in a short amount of time.

PFC Ludogorets – Improve Yourself

As a project based on personal development, ‘Improve Yourself’ seeks to help people better themselves using the positive impact of football and sport in general. The project is a follow-up of the #LiveFriendship project that was started two years ago to help youngsters develop better communication skills. Although that project was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new spin-off emerged with similar objectives.

It caters to all age groups and mainly focuses on social development, personality development, community initiatives, healthy lifestyle, and fostering inclusive environments – all achieved through various roadmaps. This project covers not only the young generation but also adults, who can set a good example, show their knowledge, skills and help the development of children, as well as give them guidelines.

The main project objectives are:

  • Habits for a healthy way of life
  • Creating useful learning habits and having a thirst for knowledge
  • Alternative ways for being active at home
  • Contributing to more accessible online environment for students
  • Promoting charity campaigns

Some of the highlights:

  • 14-year old football talents from the Ludogorets Academy got acquanted with the methodology of Mental Arithmetic for training the mind, concentration and coordination.
  • PFC Ludogorets‘ first team players took part in the More Than Football weeks as ambassadors promoting an active, healthy life, being a good example for young people.
  • Live actively, take care of your health – the ball is in your hands. With this message Ludogorets wanted to celebrate the day of Health and thank the Health care workers for their dedication. Watch their video here.
  • Together with the teachers from schools in Razgrad the club started the development of digital learning resources in subjects like mathematics, georgaphy and English language skills.
  • A ladies’ club ‘Ladies of Ludogorets’ has been created within PFC Ludogorets which includes all the wives and girlfriends of the players and staff as well as all female employees of the club. The mission is to share experiences and knowledge from different cultures, to help foreign players and their families as well as creating charity campaigns, mainly aimed at children in the region.

Barça Foundation – Sport as a Tool for Inclusion in Juvenile Justice Centers

Barça Foundation began its activities at some of the Educational Centres of the Justice Department of the Catalan Government in the 2016/17 season. Barça Foundation is committed to the application of a series of socio-educational actions that promote social integration and that provide a structure for compliance with the rules and the acquiring of responsibility of minors and young people who come under Catalan jurisdiction. The FutbolNet methodology applied in Juvenile Justice Centres, which is the pedagogical tool that is implemented during social/sports sessions and which uses physical activity as a tool for social change, is aimed at achieving the objectives described below. The programme has reached 467 participants since the 2016/17 season.

Contribute to the reintegration of young people deprived of their liberty in Catalonia Specific objectives:

  • Encourage the acquisition or improvement of social and emotional skills by young people deprived of their liberty 
  • Reduce violent behaviour to improve coexistence in the centre
  • Influence the use of sports as a socio-educational tool with young people deprived of their liberty 
  • To promote destigmatising of the group 

Big Hearts Community Trust – The Big Hearts Supporters’ Movement

Big Hearts Supporters are a leading light in Scottish football and remain at the centre of everything that Big Hearts does. On average every year, they contribute to more than 4,000 hours of meaningful support changing the lives of hundreds of vulnerable adults and children. In 2020 amidst the pandemic, over 145 brand-new Big Hearts Supporters stepped up to volunteer with us. In the first six months of lockdown, our charity had supported 8,000 vulnerable people – three times more than in the previous 12 months. The determination and kindness from Hearts fans enabled us to create new initiatives, where volunteers could get involved safely whilst providing vital support to groups most at risk of Covid-19.

  • 2,000+ welfare phone calls to older people isolated in their homes. One of the volunteers involved wasthe Head coach of the Heart of MidlothianWomen’sTeam.
  • 138,000+ packed meals prepared for homeless groups in Edinburgh.
  • 4,100+ printed reminiscence parcels for fans living with dementia. A new team of Gazette contributors was set up to write inspiringstories and recollections from good old days.
  • 1,200+ tailored presents donated and distributed for Christmas.
  • 400+ hours of peer support to fans via video chats. 5 of the most popular Hearts’ podcasts decided to open Zoom calls to fans for a chance to speak together twice a week during lockdown.

These are only a few examples of how the movement played a vital role in the club’s capacity to navigate through the pandemic and ensure those who need our help most get the support they deserved. With the fans not being able to attend the games in the Stadium, Big Hearts Supporters felt great pride in having the opportunity to be able to do something good in their community, at the most difficult of times, whilst representing their favourite football Club.


Follow our EFDN social media channels for more updates on the award and CSR in football.

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