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    AS Roma joins Twinning Project to train and rehabilitate Rebibbia prisoners

    AS Roma has today signed a collaboration agreement to join the Twinning Project, a training programme that will help rehabilitate offenders at Rebibbia prison.

    Giallorossi CEO Lina Souloukou, Chief Football Operations Officer Maurizio Lombardo and striker Tammy Abraham represented AS Roma on the day the course was launched, where they were joined by David Dein, the project founder and former vice-chairman of Arsenal and the Football Association, and Sasha Fugazzola, CEO of Twinning Project Italy.

    They were welcomed by the directors of the women's and men's divisions of Rebibbia prison, Nadia Fontana and Maria Donata Iannantuono.

    The Twinning Project, which was launched in the United Kingdom and is now being introduced in Italy for the first time by Roma, sees professional football clubs team up with penal institutions to help prisoners prepare for their release, find a job and reduce the reoffending rate, which represents a huge cost to the country and local communities.

    The agreement means that AS Roma coaches will run a course for male and female prisoners in Rebibbia on a weekly basis, providing participants with a grounding in how to become coaches themselves in future.

    Topics include improving communication and reflection, team work, planning, leadership, resolving conflicts and improving physical and mental health.

    After signing the collaboration agreement, the club delegation visited the football pitch and the structure where the course is being held to greet the participants on the first day.

    “We are honoured to have been chosen as the first Italian club to take part in this project of great social importance,” commented AS Roma CEO and General Manager Lina Souloukou. “This Twinning Project shows once again how football can have an impact on the lives of people from all walks of life, even in extremely difficult situations such as in prison. The Friedkin family and AS Roma work hard to give back to the local community, which shows so much passion and love for Roma. Knowing that this project can help offer another chance to people who have made mistakes makes us proud and motivates us to work even harder in the social sphere.”

    Sasha Fugazzola, CEO of Twinning Project Italy, commented: “We are thrilled to be partnering with AS Roma as the first club. We have been extremely impressed by their immediate understanding of and engagement with the Community and Social Responsibility aspect of the project - they have been incredibly enthusiastic and supportive throughout the whole process. Football can be a powerful force for good and the Twinning Project will use this to help people change their lives when they are released from prison. There is already some work being done in prison communities in Italy aimed at reducing reoffending and this initiative will build on that using a structured, tried and tested football programme. We believe the Twinning Project will make a real difference to individuals and communities across the country.”

    The Twinning Project: how it started

    The project started in 2018 in the UK and has seen 73 professional clubs twinned with their local prison. International expansion has extended since 2023 to USA, South Africa and Australia.

    In the UK the Twinning Project is endorsed by the whole football family: the Football Association, Premier League, Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association, Referees' Association and League Managers Association.

    Oxford University and Loughborough University are conducting academic studies on behavioural changes in offenders during their course and after release.

    Some data on the Italian prison population

      • The prison population in Italy is currently over 60,000

      • The average overcrowding rate in Italian prisons is 112.6%

      • Each prisoner costs the state €113 per day or €41,245 in a year, for a total annual cost of €2.5 billion

      • The recidivism rate in Italy is extremely high, at 62%, but falls to 2% for those who have jobs and have participated in prison training programmes

      • Only 10% of prisoners manage to enter the workforce after their release

    AS Roma, which was chosen by the Twinning Project because of its deep-rooted connection with the local area and its community, therefore enthusiastically agreed to join the initiative to help change this scenario and offer prisoners the opportunity to have a second chance in life.

    Participation in this project falls under the "Equality and Inclusion" policy of AS Roma's sustainability strategy.

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