St Ambroeus is Milan’s first football team to be made up of refugees and migrants from outside the EU and to be affiliated with the Italian Football Federation.
Fighting racism, the small football club is not located in a glamorous location with rich and world-famous footballers, but the very reason for its existence and the main idea behind its foundation is integration.
The club was founded five years ago with the mission of giving migrants and refugees a chance to make friends and integrate into society.
“We are a multi-ethnic and popular football team and we try to be both a social and football point of reference in the city of Milan. We use football as a means of integration, social exchange and knowledge, and on top of that, a very valid way to fight racism, ”said the director of Saint-Ambroeus, Daniele Raduazzo.
However, the club has been fighting against Italian laws regulating the stay of refugees in the country since its inception.
“While on the one hand the Italian federation was very enthusiastic about our affiliation, on the other hand we have to deal with laws that go beyond the football federation; these laws have shaped the approach of the Italian state towards migration over the past 30 years and these are repressive and liberticidal laws, ”Davide Salvadori, president of Saint-Ambrée, told Euronews.
Football gives these refugees a chance to forget their status. When they are on the pitch, they become defenders and attackers for their teams, and wear their club colors.
“Here we have blacks and whites. There are people from Mali, Senegal, Guinea or Cameroon, etc. There are many countries, a Moroccan too. And we all play together,” said the player Issa Doumbia.
St Ambroeus allows migrants and refugees to play on the same team as the Italians who live in the neighborhood, and they can also take Italian language courses to stimulate their integration process.