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National partner profile: Norway

Gatefotball

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Gatefotball (Street Soccer) is a project started by the Salvation Army. It focuses on drug rehabilitation for men and women through sport.

The Salvation Army in Norway has been using football to reach out to different groups for more than 30 years. Gatefotball was officially created in 2005. Since then, the programme has expanded into many cities across Norway, and an annual Norwegian Street Football Cup was founded.

The official ambassador of Team Norway and Gatefootball is Erik Thorstvedt, a former Norwegian professional goalkeeper, who has played almost 100 matches for the national team. He has worked as the team’s ambassador since 2012 and has actively engaged with their trainings and tournaments.

This tournament acts as the recruitment base for the national team which then participates in the Homeless World Cup.

Hundreds of players have participated in the Norwegian Cup with their local football team, and nearly 100 players have been given the opportunity to travel abroad to represent Norway in international championships. Players speak highly of the positive effects of the programme, especially in terms of reduced risk factors that can affect physical and mental health.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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The Salvation Army Believes that football can be a useful instrument to approach and assist individuals with substance dependence or other marginalising issues, such as unemployment and social isolation. Football helps them regain their confidence and rebuild a social network.

Gatefotball addresses the “soap” aspect of the Salvation Army’s motto “Soup, Soap, and Salvation.”

Goals for the future

Capacity Expansion

To achieve growth in number of teams, players, and development in quality of programmes, especially the referee training programme

Partnerships

To send two teams to the Nordic Tournament in Finland

Additional information

Partner since

2005

Football Activities

Gatefotball run a national championship, participate in international tournaments, and organise 2-3 weekly sessions per city.

Team selection

Players are selected through the annual Norwegian Street Football Cup. They select both a women’s and a men’s team.

Non-football services

They provide an educational programme, coaching qualifications, and referral to other specialist services within the Salvation Army in order to provide access to housing, employment training, and rehabilitation services.

Participants challenges

Participants face substance abuse, unemployment, and social isolation.

Country challenges

Norway proposed new legislation banning both begging and helping beggars in 2014, but it dropped the proposal due to strong opposition who warned that the new law would criminalise acts of charity.
The proposal was targeted specifically at the ethnic Roma migrants whose number has increased tenfold in the past six years (Reuters, 2015).

Homlessness definition

A homeless person in Norway is defined as a person who, lacks shelter for the coming night; has been referred to emergency or temporary accommodation; is in prison or an institution and is going to be released/discharged within two months and does not have a place of residence upon release/discharge; or is temporarily living with friends, acquaintances or relatives (European Commission, 2009).

Homelessness Statistics

There were 6,259 homeless people in Norway in 2012, which corresponds to 1.26 per 1,000 people. Homelessness is more prevalent in large municipalities; 42% live in one of the four major cities: Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, and Stavanger (NIBR Report, 2013).

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