Photos

Idomeni F.C.

Photos from a friendly football match in the makeshift refugee camp on the Greek/Macedonian border.

by Κώστας Κουκουμάκας
30 March 2016, 6:00am

This article originally appeared on VICE Greece

There are currently over 11,500 refugees stranded in the makeshift refugee camp in Idomeni, Greece. Last Sunday, rumours spread that the Greek-Macedonian border would open, which led to about 2,000 people gathering by the border fence hoping to get further into Europe. Greek authorities tried to convince the crowd that the Balkan Route was still closed and that it was impossible to cross the Macedonian border at Idomeni but only about 1,000 refugees and migrants followed the authorities' request to move on to shelters in the mainland. Greek Minister for Migration Yiannis Mouzalas stated that Idomeni will be shut down in April, but local police officers told me that "there is no realistic evacuation plan, and we have no idea where these people should go if the camp is shut down. The new camps aren't ready yet."

Last February, I visited Idomeni. The desperation inside and outside of the camp was palpable – crying babies in the arms of their mothers were everywhere and the queues for food were endless. During those long hours of wait though, one activity seemed to brighten everyone's day: football.

As I was walking around, trying to take one photo that escaped the stereotypes, Amid from Syria kicked a ball in my direction. I kicked it back and he started to kick it between the tents set up outside the camp. A group of kids immediately joined in. I started taking photos with my phone, while the boys laid out two stones in the place of goalposts.

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