At the end, they all received a trophy and certificate signed by Mayor Harry Mergel. And the most successful team also won the Integration Cup for consistency, honesty and mutual cooperation. Ten mixed teams – kickers with and without disabilities – competed against each other on Saturday (23 July 2022) at the Unionsgelände in Böckingen in the eighth Integration Cup. It was also the official end of the “summer of diversity”.
“We just want to have fun and be successful together,” says 22-year-old Marcel Streib, a passionate and dedicated footballer for around 15 years. He plays with 34-year-old Alen Dugalic on the mixed team of employment offices and takes third place in the tournament. “Great, that’s more than nothing, right,” says Strieb, beaming with joy, who works at Lichtenstern and cannot read or write.
Inclusion Cup in Heilbronn: for the first time with mixed teams
“This year the teams have been mixed for the first time,” says organizer Carsten Hummel of Offene Hilfe. At least two disabled miners had to be represented in a team of six, “each kicked against each other for twelve minutes,” said Dominik Hager of the Union Böckingen youth department and “Anpfiff ins Leben”.
“The participants are between six and 62 years old,” says Hummel. The youngest kickers were provided by Union Böckingen, where the cup was also held. Some have been to previous cups, others, like 13-year-old Lea-Sophie Röthenbacher, are playing for the first time. “I got into it because of my father and because I want to improve my football skills,” says the young man whose father Andreas works as a job broker at the employment office.
Kickers with very different disabilities
“Players with disabilities have very different types of disabilities,” says the spokesperson for city and county integration, Irina Richter. Some have learning difficulties or mental retardation, others live with Down syndrome. The cup is organized by Open Aid, the city and the poviat as well as building guilds.
While Kickers from the District Office, TSV Bad Friedrichshall, Offene Hilfe, Lichtenstern or Susanne Finkbeiner schools are having lunch, Irina Richter, the municipal disability officer Susanne Theves and Bettina Visser, Offene Hilfe’s client, are sitting at the table and we are currently discussing which team suitable for inclusion cup.
The winner is: “FC Bierkasten non-alcoholic”
“They not only harmonized well, but had an overview of everything,” says Theves of the non-alcoholic team “FC Bierkasten” with school kickers Susanne Finkbeiner and TSV Bad Friedrichshall. They also get an additional trophy and the winner’s trophy after winning against “FC Bundesland”, which played against players from C-Jugend Union Böckingen and Offene Hilfe.
Mayor Harry Mergel praised the high level of football and the great passion at the awards ceremony. “But what impressed me the most was honesty,” said Mergel, who played in the first cup himself. “It’s not just about football, it’s about participation,” says Irina Richter, describing the cup of inclusion that marked the end of the “summer of diversity”.
The Inclusion Cup sums up the “summer of diversity”
About 50 events took place during the campaign, coordinated by the city’s anti-discrimination bureau. “In 2021, the focus was on the topic of racism, this year mostly women and lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people,” says Education Director Tanja El Ghadouini. “We do not specify the topics. Clubs and organizations submit topics, ”he explains. – And this is a very interesting reflection of society – emphasizes the education superintendent. “This makes the theme of diversity even more visible.”
A service provider for everyone
The Summer of Diversity was organized by the Anti-Discrimination Agency Heilbronn. This is seen as a kind of service provider for all residents of the Heilbronn region. In addition to regional public relations activities and awareness-raising about anti-discrimination activities, the goal is to support individuals – including through advisory services. “I was very pleased that even more organizations participated than last year,” says Education Director Tanja El Ghadouini.