Sport dans la Ville: Helping disadvantaged kids in France

  • Sport dans la Ville uses sport as a tool for social inclusion

  • Two thirds of the association’s youngsters play football

  • They utilise funds from the FIFA Foundation for their projects

Since its foundation in 1998, Sport dans la Ville has been one of France's leading organisations in serving disadvantaged kids through sports. The association, which has 40 centres in some of the most deprived neighbourhoods of 22 French cities, has so far enrolled 6,500 children in its personal and professional development programmes.

“Our goal is to help young people on the path to employment by using sport and its values, such as team spirit, mutual respect and hard work. All of those values, which our instructors work on with the youngsters on the pitch, are transferable to the work environment,” explains Iris Bazin, the association’s head of partnerships and communication.

The key to the success of Sport dans la Ville lies in its location in the heart of disadvantaged neighbourhoods, which allows it to reach out to young people and establish a relationship of trust over time (anything from the age of 6 to 25 years). As well as sport practice, the association offers a variety of different educational, training, social interaction and discovery programmes.

And it works. According to an impact study commissioned by the association, the verifiable results are spectacular. For example, 82 per cent of young people who took part in the 'Job dans la ville' programme come out with the requisite skills for sustainable employment. That percentage is even higher than the national average (81 per cent) and well above that of deprived neighbourhoods (64 per cent).

Gilrs playing football with Sport dans la Ville

Key stats

  • 6,500 young people trained by the association

  • 40 centres in 22 cities, all in disadvantaged neighbourhoods

  • 1,500 young girls have been through the L dans la Ville programme

  • 4 new centres opened in 2018

  • 5 more planned for 2019

Football at the heart of the action

“Football plays a central role for around two thirds of the youngsters who practice it,” continues Bazin. “We always have a football pitch in our centres. We also have basketball courts where space permits. We also offer tennis, rugby, dance…”

The association, which originated in Lyon, does not intend to miss out on the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™, given that the semi-finals and final will take place there. “We’re going to organise a football solidarity tournament, in partnership with FIFA and Street Football World, and welcome 1,500 young people from around the world to our campus,” she explains. “It’ll be a week-long festival, in which we’ll celebrate 10 years of our girls programme 'L in the City' and organise meetings with sportswomen, women footballers and personalities from the business world.”

Driven by its own success, the association has ambitious plans to continue its expansion with a development project that will be part of the legacy of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The goal is to have 80 active centres by then and to have assisted the development of 12,000 young people through sport.

Sport dans la ville is just one of many organisations supported by the FIFA Foundation Community Programme.​