Autism awareness and respect for minorities

The Croatian FA's grassroots efforts reached a recent crescendo with a charity futsal tournament to help children living with autism, followed by a national minorities football camp.

Grassroots activities continue apace in Croatia
Grassroots activities continue apace in Croatia ©HNS

As Croatia's club season drew to a close and the World Cup approached, the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) redoubled its grassroots efforts with a number of activities to help children in marginalised populations.

On 18 April, the HNS joined forces with the Pogled autism association to hold a charity futsal tournament to raise funds for individual therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders and to build a children's park in Nedelišće. The futsal tournament received support from a number of Croatian football clubs and governing bodies and, inspired by this success, the Croatian FA has nominated the Pogled autism association for funding from the UEFA Foundation for Children.

Two days later, the HNS and Croatia's World Roma Organization hosted their ninth national minorities football camp in Pula. Attended by more than 250 children, who learned about the role of football as a powerful tool for promoting inclusivity and respect towards all social groups, this football camp was the two organisations' biggest collaboration to date.

This abridged article originally appeared in UEFA Direct 178

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