Topic 1: Webinar with International Olympic Truce Centre, Greece and Kraainem FC, Belgium

Topic Progress:

As we have all learned over the past year, planning and having things under control can be very hard during a pandemic. Is it possible to adapt and do your activities in a safe way? What are the challenges and potential solutions for refugees and the organisations that work with them when it comes to community sport and physical activity? We discussed these questions in the first of ISCA’s networking webinars for the Integration of Refugees Through Sport (IRTS) Networking Platform devoted to the topic “COVID-19 – or when control and planning are overrated”.

The webinar aimed to connect organisations working with refugees and showcase good examples of organisations and clubs that have adapted and delivered their activities in a safe way. It started with an introductory panel discussion followed by discussions in smaller groups.

One of the panelists was Katerina Salta from the International Olympic Truce Centre (Greece) who talked about her experience working with the Hestia FC initiative, the first refugee and migrant women’s football team in Greece. Having to face challenges such as lack of communication between the government and the refugees when new restrictions were announced, Katerina says it is crucial for organisations working with refugees to keep engaged with the refugees and stand by them especially now that their life situation has become even more fragile than before the pandemic.

Benjamin Renauld from Belgium represented Royal Europa 90 Kraainem Football Club (Kraainem FC), a multicultural club providing activities for people coming from more than 40 different nations. The club not only provides football training, but also additional activities like language courses and conversation classes. Among the challenges faced by the club during the pandemic was dealing with the fast evolving measures, including the need to separate people into different playing teams instead of the usual full group. Benjamin talked about how quickly the organisation adapted to the new rules and what had to be changed in the decision-making process to become more effective with integration through sport.

In the second part of the webinar we had dynamic discussions in smaller groups, where all the webinar participants had an opportunity to share their experiences and learn from others. We discussed challenges faced, solutions found and lessons learned from the pandemic experience, which were then summarised by group facilitators from ISCA.

You can watch the webinar recording below

More about the organisations

International Olympic Truce Centre, Greece

The International Olympic Truce Centre was established in July 2000 as a joint initiative of Greece and the International Olympic Committee, turning the commitment of the Olympic Movement to promote the principle of Peace into concrete action. Katerina Salta is the Manager of the IOTC refugee women’s football team, Hestia.


Katerina Salta

[email protected]

Kraainem FC, Belgium

Following the migration crisis of 2015, Kraainem FC decided to launch an initiative welcoming unaccompanied minor refugees on a daily basis. This initiative relies on a partnership agreement between the club and Fedasil, the governmental organisation in charge of welcoming asylum seekers. The young refugees who are welcomed in Kraainem are staying in different reception centres ran by Fedasil. The participants take part in conversation tables and language courses and participate in football training sessions with the club’s teams. The club intends to become a real pilot project to convince other Belgian clubs to follow our footsteps. Our general objective is to duplicate the initiative by communicating, raising awareness and providing an educational support.


Benjamin Renauld

[email protected]