Atletico Diritti: A Unique Football Revolution

The Beginning

It is one of the most romantic and picturesque settings you can imagine for a football pitch. In the shadow of an ancient Roman aqueduct in the suburbs of Rome suburbs is Atletico Diritti. An amateur sports club and social project, it competes in men’s football, cricket, basketball, and women’s five-a-side football. But their presence and impact extends far beyond what happens on the pitch. The club’s playing roster is made up almost entirely of prisoners, ex-prisoners, and asylum seekers.

Credit: Fillipo Monteforte

Atletico Diritti Sports Club (In English: Athletic Rights) was established in 2014 by two NGOs. The first one, Antigone, works for prisoners rights. In their words “We are called Antigone because, like the heroine of the Greek tragedy, we fight for justice to be without the cruel traits of revenge.” The other is Progetto Diritti, an organisation which offers free legal assistance to migrant communities and asylum seekers. 

Both organisations had the idea of founding a sports club that would assist and uplift the marginalised people they were working with, and, with funding from Roma Tre University, Atletico Diritti was born. In the words of club president Susanna Marietti, “Sport is a universal language that manages to overcome many barriers. Through Atletico Diritti we have carried out campaigns and attracted the attention of the media on issues that are dear to us, such as prison.” Susanna Marietta, the national coordinator of Antigone, has dedicated her life to working with prisoners. When Atletico Diritti was founded, she was elected its president, holding the role ever since.

Where most clubs opt for shirt sponsors that can supply them the most revenue, Atletico Diritti proudly dons the brand Made in Jail, an Italian clothes brand set up in the 1980s by prisoners in Rebibbia prison who began screen printing t-shirts in the prison and selling them to the outside world. They are now run by ex-prisoners with the goal…

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Author : Ethan Rooney

Publish date : 2024-02-29 13:30:00

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