Community-Driven Sports Events as a Vehicle for Cultural Sustainability within the Context of Forced Migration: Lessons from the Amsterdam Futsal Tournament
2. Community Sustainability, Culture and Somali Diaspora
- Individual sustainability: longer-term changes in individuals’ attitudes, aptitudes and/or behavior through involvement with the sports development program;
- Community sustainability: the maintenance of changes in the community in which the sports development program is delivered;
- Organizational sustainability: the maintenance or expansion of sports development programs by the organization responsible for their delivery;
- Institutional sustainability: longer-term changes in policy, practice, economic and environmental conditions in the wider context of the sports development program  (pp. 281–284).
If the social dimension of sustainability has often been missing from sustainability discourse and practice, the inclusion of culture within conceptual and planning frameworks for long-term community wellbeing and sustainability has tended to be even more vague and fractured. As a result, cultural considerations tend not to be integrated into sustainability initiatives in a widespread or consistent way. (p. 1)
3.1. Data Collection
3.2. Data Analysis
- Sport event sustainability practices;
- Performing and connecting with Somali culture and identity;
- Ripple effects on self-organizing capacity.
4.1. Sport Event Sustainability Practices
There was a need, a massive need for the young people here. They said: “We have lots of teams, can you organize for us please?” And so the Somali youth, the only thing they know how to do, once they are not in their home, is to play sports.
It was one of those rare moments where we met each other and it was a temporary reality escape. We went to play basketball and regardless of how good you were, it was about the connection we had. I am very disappointed that it has been so difficult to sustain. […] Because when I see a Somali girl play basketball, it’s fun. It’s not something you encounter in everyday life, that you are playing basketball against Somali girls. It’s not something that is being encouraged. That has a lot to do with the culture. Girls don’t play sport, the old-fashioned belief. This belief will fade, but it’s still there.
We have to make it more visible. I know about it because I worked at HIRDA as a volunteer. But the promotional materials are aimed at the men. You don’t have to feature women on the posters, but you can bring it to the fore a lot more and integrate it into the marketing. The event is mainly focused on futsal, which is the most popular, and is made up for 80 per cent of men’s teams. I get that, but it would help if we bring it to women’s attention more. […] I think it’s great that it is being filmed [for the livestream] because it shows you Somali women playing sport. You almost never see that. It attracts more attention that way.
The past few years we have seen many new arrivals. […] It’s easier to help them when you speak the same language and when you understand where they come from. […] That can be an important source of support, that they feel safer and also to participate in sport and to get to know many people who can teach them the [Dutch] language and make friends. You simply feel better understood by someone who knows where you come from. I have many people in my environment who are new arrivals and I always try to motivate them.
4.2. Performing and Connecting with Somali Culture and Identity
It’s something that is ours. I believe we need something to hold on to. Something that only belongs to Somalis, that’s simply more pleasant. Everything else in the Netherlands is mixed, every club I know has Dutch people. So let’s keep this event for Somalis. I cannot really justify it, it’s just a feeling.
It would also be okay if it was a mixed event, but I am not sure if I would attend it. But because it is focused on Somali people I do attend. There isn’t much being organized for Somalis in general, so it’s great that this event focuses specifically on Somalis.(Fatuma, female, 20s)
Questioning identity is very, very strong for lots of young Somalis. For some of them it becomes really painful to understand or accept who they are, because one country gave me everything that I have now, and another one I came from. […] I think this tournament is one of those things that can make that process easier, especially some of the debates that happened last night… There was one was born here, he’s never seen Somalia; one who came from Somalia young then grew up most of his life in Sweden, so he’s kind of Swedish, and that’s his feeling; and some who recently came to Somalia or visited Somalia. I hope lots of the others will listen and could learn something from it. […] If they realize their identity and accept that they can be different people, and wear different hats at different times, that will make it easier for them. So identity, the questions are not going to end now, it’s going to continue for a long time. Even for me, sometimes I don’t know which of my hats I’m wearing, and it’s something that will stay with them probably for the rest of their lives.
4.3. Ripple Effects on Self-organizing Capacity
When we started this tournament, some people thought we wouldn’t be able to organize it. Then they witnessed that it could be done. They learned that engaging young people to come out and organize events works. […] When I visit other countries like America, Canada and European countries, they ask me to help organize tournaments there. We have many people doing this now.
Some young people returned to Somalia and started to organize sport there. We have seen self-organizing by young people in [Dutch] cities like Utrecht, Venray and others. At AFT they see how they can support each other and organize similar events in their own localities. They are organizing themselves more consciously and have good discussions about this. The youth are proud to see that Somalis can self-organize. They had lost that hope because the community is very fragmented. So AFT has a kind of example or mobilization function.
We hold competitions [in the UK], we hold things, but not up to the precision or profession of AFT. I think they plan it a year in advance, they... you know and they do everything to just be... well organized. So let me accept that in that organization they’re better. I also once took part in organizing things in North America, so I did live in many different places. And I think this is the one specialty of HIRDA, that they are well organized. The one thing I’ve learnt is that there’s nothing called impossible, that anything could be done, because if HIRDA can do this, then you know anyone, anywhere, they could organize themselves to do something similar.
I was talking with our coach and he was like “maybe someday we can organize tournament like this one back in Finland”. Because in Finland we have big Somali communities nowadays, like in Netherlands and Amsterdam. So why don’t we show how we got experience here and we’ll take it, all the things we have learnt here. And it’s not that big a thing you know. We have to make good contacts with the teams from different European countries. It’s a good opportunity to learn about how they organize in teams, and making contacts from here.(Roble, male, 20s)
I organized athletics events twice. People from the UK contacted me to ask if I could help them organize such events over there. In Sweden, Somali people asked me how I did it because they want to organize events too. The contacts with Somalis in other countries become closer like that.
What I see in my city, we have a large group of new arrivals. Every Wednesday they organize a football match as a group. They completely self-organize. Guys from different neighbourhoods come together and play. That’s their own grassroots initiative. For them AFT is a big match. If there was a similar supply for girls, then we [the girls and women] would be more likely to say: “Okay let’s play football. Let’s go and do something fun together”. That it extends beyond AFT. If we had a bigger group then there will always be a few who say “Hey let’s play this week”. The guys always have a big group. They organize it really well, actually.
5. Discussion and Conclusions
Conflicts of Interest
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Spaaij, R.; Schaillée, H. Community-Driven Sports Events as a Vehicle for Cultural Sustainability within the Context of Forced Migration: Lessons from the Amsterdam Futsal Tournament. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1020. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031020
Spaaij R, Schaillée H. Community-Driven Sports Events as a Vehicle for Cultural Sustainability within the Context of Forced Migration: Lessons from the Amsterdam Futsal Tournament. Sustainability. 2020; 12(3):1020. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031020Chicago/Turabian Style
Spaaij, Ramón, and Hebe Schaillée. 2020. "Community-Driven Sports Events as a Vehicle for Cultural Sustainability within the Context of Forced Migration: Lessons from the Amsterdam Futsal Tournament" Sustainability 12, no. 3: 1020. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031020