Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations- und Migrationsforschung

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations- und Migrationsforschung | 6. Refugee engagement in sports clubs – also for girls and women? Concepts, measures and perspectives of intercultural diversification of sports clubs

6. Refugee engagement in sports clubs – also for girls and women? Concepts, measures and perspectives of intercultural diversification of sports clubs

It has been several years now since a heated debate began among sports sociologists about if and how much sports clubs – when they are made culturally diverse – can contribute to integration.

Our project examines how sports clubs define the term interculturalism; which role diversification plays in their identity as a club; and which measures, opportunities and motivations are associated with becoming culturally open. Within this, a particular focus of the project is examining the conditions that are necessary for girls and women with refugee backgrounds to successfully take part in and be taken in by sports clubs.

Project Procedure

Background conversations with experts from Germany’s regional and federal sports associations explored the knowledge needs of key stakeholders, so that these needs could feed into the data collection.

Next, board members and instructors from 17 sport clubs in Berlin and Saxony were interviewed. Taken together this sample of clubs was very heterogeneous and also included clubs that specifically target women and girls. The clubs range in terms of size, their experience with integration through sport, and the type of sport they offer. Alongside seven football clubs, table tennis, cricket and combat sport clubs were all surveyed.

By (a) using half-structured conversations to discuss the milestones of each club’s history, the project was able to explore what weight the topics integration and refugee support had within a given club. Interviewees were (b) asked to describe the club strategies for addressing and including refugees in the club community, particularly women and girl refugees. Those interviewed reported on (c) day-to-day life within the clubs. This included reporting on interactions among trainers; attitudes and expectations among club members; and questions regarding volunteering as well as challenges within the club.

The results of the interviews will be published in a report. In addition, they will also be relayed back to the participating clubs through workshops. These workshops will serve as a platform to discuss the results and where recommendations for possible courses of actions can be developed cooperatively.