FC Red Bull Salzburg – Teamplay without Offside
”Teamplay without Offside” – ”Teamplay ohne Abseits” is an initiative that aims to use football to call attention to discrimination and integration. It was started in 2015, of which FC Red Bull Salzburg has been a supporter since.
Introduced by the Austrian Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Austrian Football Association and Austrian Bundesliga, as well as supported by the ZUSAMMEN:ÖSTERREICH group, this initiative aims to use football as a common way of raising awareness for issues such as discrimination, tolerance and integration.
In 2017, FC Red Bull Salzburg’s player Mergim Berisha took part in the integration workshop with 30 children from the LAZ Seekirchen school. Through a range of exercises, the youngsters learned to recognise prejudice along with biases against others, and to understand how discrimination and disparagement come about. It was particularly informative for the participants to realise that they come across prejudice in their everyday life without always realising it.
Mergim Berisha has a migratory background, which helped him to be an ambassador for the ‘Teamplay without Offside’ initiative. The footballer was keen on raising his voice on the topic:
”I learned at school, and then later in the team, that you have to work hard to earn respect, no matter where you come from or what religion you are part of. If you perform as you can, you will succeed.” – Mergim Berisha, player