Working grant - Game On
For a while now there has been talk about young people from Africa and Latin America, arriving in Europe with the dream of becoming professional football players. But who are these people? What stories do they have to tell? What motivates them?
Hiring of minors is forbidden by FIFA, but there is nothing in Immigration Law to prevent this. So it is up to the national federations to deal with these cases, an issue that has only begun to be discussed seriously the past two years. A cross-border team of journalists analysed data from the first leagues of England, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and Belgium and found that, during the years 2014-2015, 294 African and South American players aged 18 or less played there, 226 of which African, 68 South American. More than half of them came from Guinea-Bissau, Brazil, Senegal, Cameroon or Ivory Coast. Portugal is their main gateway to Europe: the country received 109 of these aspiring young footballers, mostly from the former Portuguese colonies: Guinea-Bissau, Brazil, Cape Verde and Angola.
By zooming in on the particular cases of three young men (Francisco, 23; Cassiano, 15; Valentine, 19) Game On wants to give a face and voice to a phenomenon often treated superficially.
Project website: futebol.divergente.pt/en
This project won the 2016 AMI Journalism against Indifference Prize.
A working grant of €5,000 was allocated on 15th December, 2014.