Switzerland

Surprise Strassenfussball

Since 2003, Surprise Strassenfussball have been reintegrating socially disadvantaged people into Swiss society.

Eighteen teams compete in four national tournaments of the Swiss street football league. Teams must be composed of socially disadvantaged adults with a coach and a manager. Players are often street paper vendors, affected by mental illness, unemployed people, seeking asylum, or suffer from substance abuse.

The league has two levels of competition for different abilities to make sure the games are fair, and the eight players chosen to play on the Swiss national team are from both levels. The team selection criteria are not only based on football skills, but on motivation and self-improvement also.

Organisation Details

Participants

Unemployed men and women, asylum seekers, and street paper vendors

Locations

Nationwide

Homelessness Statistics

Although Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world, around 600,000 people live below poverty line, meaning they do not have enough income to provide for their subsistence and to cover high expenses related to food, transportation and housing (Swiss Info, 2014).

There are no official numbers regarding homelessness in Switzerland (Wilco, 2013). While homelessness is not very visible in the country, it does exist (The Guardian, 2014). Swiss Med Weekly reported in 2005 that the number of beds available for homeless people per night in the Canton Zürich increased between 2000 and 2003 by more than 17%.