About the Project
Some would say history is just one damned thing after the other, that it should be put to rest in the past and that bygones should be bygones. These people are not necessarily wrong, but in an ever-complex world of globalised societies and rising exclusivist identity-politics, the stories we tell ourselves about the past help us define ourselves in the present and orient toward an unpredictable future.
Some would say football is nothing more than 22 people chasing a ball around a pitch for 90 minutes. Also those people are not necessarily wrong, but history is made up of whatever people have come to value, and certainly football – a game played and watched by billions for over 100 years – seems highly valued.
We would say that football history is made up of millions of stories, of individuals and communities, of movements and processes, which can open doors to the conversations we need to have in the present. Players who came from nothing to become international super-stars. Clubs which have been established to foster minority identities and belonging. People who have faced exclusion in a racist and bigoted past.
Our European Football stories, starting with your local neighbourhood club, can not only excite the football and history fans but in particular create a space where those that are marginalised in European societies are included, feel belonging so that everybody can seek active citizenship.
Sport – and particularly football – appeals to millions of Europeans, regardless of their sexual orientation, colour, gender, age, nationality or religion, often becoming a defining factor of identities and communities. The rich local cultural heritage of football and its shared history covering the turbulent 20th century history offers direct access to addressing past and present diversity. In addition, it helps to promote shared values, equality, non-discrimination and social inclusion with an integrated perspective, encompassing and innovating formal and non-formal learning, as well as youth work. This project will see a unique European team, including a Football Federation, a professional Football Club, the renowned Anne Frank House and FARE Network, together with European networks of history educators and youth workers.