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Switzerland: Football's key role in social integration

With players from 179 different nationalities in the 1,400 clubs affiliated to the Swiss Football Association, it is clear that football is a significant contributor to social integration in Switzerland.


This is the conclusion of a two-year scientific study conducted at the University of Berne’s Institute of Sports Science, based on surveys of 42 football clubs, comprising 145 teams and 1,839 members, throughout German- and French-speaking Switzerland. The results show there is huge diversity among Swiss football clubs.

On the whole, the research suggests that the social integration of football club members is high among all generations of immigrants. Members tend to be socially connected and familiar with their club’s most important rules and customs, and they identify strongly with their club. All kinds of friendships develop at team level in particular, and many of these continue outside the club.

Membership of a football club also helps many people to improve their language skills.

“This study proves that football plays a key role in social integration in Switzerland,” said the Swiss FA president, Dominique Blanc. “We want to use the results of this research specifically to advance and improve the development of our affiliated football clubs. The Swiss FA’s vision is to be a pillar of society and the important role our clubs play in social integration shows that we’re succeeding.”

This article originally appeared in UEFA Direct 199