ECOS organised and managed the Dream World Cup, the second edition of the Futsal World Championship for people with mental health problems held in Rome from 13th to 16th May 2018, on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Basaglia law – the law that led to the closure of mental hospitals in Italy on 13 May 1978 and started the process of social integration of psychiatric patients. The first edition was played in Japan in 2016 and was told by the documentary Crazy for Football directed by Volfango De Biasi. The Dream World Cup was:

  • a major world sporting event with 9 national football teams: Argentina, Chile, France, Japan, Italy, Peru, Spain, Ukraine and Hungary - 180 psychiatric patients involved in a 4-day tournament.
  • A great global social event, where over 200 organisations – including sports associations, health facilities and federations in the various participating countries – took the field to fight stigma and encourage the use of football as a psychiatric rehabilitation practice during the 40th anniversary of the Basaglia Law.


Football, with its training methods based on clear and defined objectives, improves the general wellbeing of psychiatric patients. It allows patients to experience gratification, which on the psychological level means “I exist, I can do”. Moreover:

  • It improves the psychophysical balance by stimulating the release of serotonin.
  • It allows to reduce the administration of psychiatric drugs.
  • It decreases the incidence of cardiovascular diseases.
  • It helps to reacquire self-confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness, and stimulates socialisation.

A social stigma still exists around mental illness in the civil society. The World Health Organization states that around 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychosis. In Italy, according to data from the Ministry of Health, there are almost 800 thousand people treated in Mental Health Centres.


In 2020 the Dream World Cup will take place in Peru.

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