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Spillerforeningen, the Danish player union, has been awarded an integration award by the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs, Children and Integration for its efforts in fighting racism, as well as using professional footballers as role models for children and youngsters.


Spillerforeningen has been awarded the integration award based on the socially responsible initiatives Arena Spartacus and Show Racism the Red Card. Arena Spartacus is an initiative, which helps socially vulnerable groups of children and youngsters become a part of society through weekly football training. More people will perhaps be familiar with the campaign Show Racism the Red Card, which fights racism and discrimination.


The Danish Minister of Social Affairs, Children and Integration, Annette Vilhelmsen, explains why Spillerforeningen got the acclaim: ‘Spillerforeningen deserves the award because the players association has managed to utilize their own resources in a constructive and innovative way in the work with the different youth- and integration initiatives. Spillerforeningen has included socially vulnerable groups of children and youngsters in association activities in order for them to develop their talents.’


Simon Christensen, project manager of Arena Spartacus and Show Racism the Red Card, is excited about the recognition: ‘With Arena Spartacus and Show Racism the Red Card we have made use of how football attracts people. We use Danish football stars to give children positive role models that many of them miss in their everyday lives. Football is a universal language which brings boys and girls together, and we use this in our effort to further integration in Denmark. In that respect, we are very happy and grateful for receiving this award. It serves as the pat on the back that acknowledges that we are doing something right.’


Christian Lønstrup, former professional footballer and coordinator of Arena Spartacus, elaborates on the progress he sees in the children during the weekly training-sessions: ‘The football training gives the children the personal space they need, and the training-sessions are at least as much about coming together as a group as it is about football. Our coaches, who are all former professional football players, know a lot about football and they naturally become someone the children look up to. This provides the basis for our children and youngsters to have fun and simultaneously be around role models who inspire them.’ 




Player pictured is Bajram Fetai - Photo © Per Kjærbye /