An excellent press conference organized by Olympiacos during the kick-off meeting of You’re Hope project. The participants had the opportunity to answer the questions of journalists and present the overall concept of the project. Olympiacos received very positive comments not only for its hospitality but also for the general contribution to the implementation of European projects.
The General Secretary of Olympiacos and Project Coordinator, Christina Tsiligkiri stated: ‘’I am very happy to be here with excellent partners and colleagues in this project. You’re Hope is a project that aims to the promotion of sports as the appropriate means for the social integration of refugees. We all know that our city has hosted a large number of refugees in the port since 2015. This project pursues to sensitize the local community of Piraeus and offer pleasant moments to these people. Olympiacos is the main coordinator of the project in cooperation with Levski-Sport for all, Aalborg and EMCA, the European Association in which our club is a member since 2013. The most important actions are the research about the sport preferences of the refugees and the organization of multisport activities for them.’’
The General Secretary of Levski-Sport for all and President of EMCA, Vanina Milanova mentioned: ‘’We are very happy to be hosted by the heart of the Greek sport, in the headquarters of Olympiacos. We are here with the President of Levski. Our organization has more than 45 sports and more than 300 medals. As the leading European multisport clubs, have the responsibility to promote the integration of the refugees. As Levski- Sport for all, we can learn a lot from Olympiacos. This club has a great tradition in projects related to refugees. We also have the support of an important international organization such as UNESCO which we met today and hope that our national refugees associations will also succeed to show the sun to these young people. I would like to thank Olympiacos to become partners of this project.’’
The Vice-President of Societa Sportiva Lazio and General Secretary of EMCA, Federico Eichberg said: ‘’I would like to thank Olympiacos for this welcoming today. Today, we understood why Olympiacos is in the heart of the Greek and European multisport movement. Olympiacos is the main coordinator of this European project. It is a big responsibility in safe hands. We recognize the fact that Olympiacos is one of the first clubs in our European Multisport Association, every year carries out a European project and for the first time, as a coordinator. We also recognized the excellent and indispensable role that Greece has played in the welcoming of refugees during these years by showing the best heart of Europe. Moreover, Olympiacos achieved to put together governmental and non-governmental institutions that do wonderful jobs and could assist our work. Today, the three clubs, the Association and the partners agreed to run the programme together and so, I would to thank Christina for that. Today, we also had the honour of being part of the memorial service of Gate Seven that took place in the premises of the stadium and brought together many passionate athletes, trainers and supporters with the spirit of the family, the brotherhood. This could be an inspiration for our Association.’’
The fans are wondering what the main objective of the project is and what kind of activities could include?
Christina Tsiligkiri underpinned: ‘’We chose to focus on the refugees which are unaccompanied. This is a small collaborative partnership so we don’t have the time to focus on more different groups. Having the assistance of the organization ‘’ARSIS’’, we decided to approach the young unaccompanied refugees that are in Sxisto and other hotspots in Attica. The programme has three different phases. First of all, until May we proceed with the collection of data related to the sport preferences of these children. The second one includes the education of trainers via a webseminar and the third one concerns the multisport days for refugees based on their preferences. I Hope that in the future, we will have the opportunity for a further implementation of projects related to the social inclusion of refugees. Our Association has submitted many projects in European Union and hope that we will have the opportunity to develop more initiatives for refugees.’’
Federico Eichberg mentioned: ‘’I would like to add two things about the target. The first one is to let young refugees experience the beauty of sport. The second one is our community. It is an important message to give to our community to welcome these people and encourage them to become an important part of our society.’’
Could this project also encourage the participation of fans who would like to engage with the rehabilitation of the refugees? Maybe it could be a good opportunity for fans to come next to club and these people and feel that contribute to social work.
Vanina Milanova stated: ‘’We believe that our supporters could help the refugees too. We are planning to organize many multisport activities in September. On the one hand, this requires the participation of trainers and athletes and on the other hand, that of the supporters. The multisport clubs participated in this programme have good tradition of supporting people in difficult situation. During the last thirty years, our supporters organize different activities for children of poor families that need help.’’
Federico Eichberg said: ‘’Absolutely. The first project that we participated was the ‘’Sport and Support’’. Our clubs promoted sports and encouraged supporters to support not only the team but also the community.’’
After the end of the press conference, the participants exchanged gifts and thanked Olympiacos for the excellent welcoming and hospitality.