23 | APR 2019
15 MAR | 2014
Øthers from Damascus, Damascus, Syria
In the heart of Damascus, football can still open doors and offer some hope
Umayyad Mosque and a moment for playing football. [Riccardo Romani]
Even after 3 years of the worst conflict in the history of Syria, there's always time for playing football, as Riccardo Romani finds out.

t's not easy to enter the Umayadd Mosque, in the heart of Damascus, Syria, especially if you are not precisely a follower of the Koran. It requires some talk, a great deal of courtesy and the use of a special password: football. Despite 3 years into the worst conflict of its history, large parts of Damascus remain safe. One of the most beautiful Mosque in the world is one of them. The most unconventional place for kids to play football, has become the only possible one. Naming Messi, Balotelli, Ronaldinho is the usual tool to open any door, at any latitude, despite war zones, borders, fear [...]

Journalist, writer, producer and director. Has been following stories worldwide for over 20 years. His reportages include chronicles from Somalia, Iraq, Mongolia, Haiti and Afghanistan. Works for Sky Tg24 and has written and directed The Election Game and Coca Nostra. In 2007 he has produced The Possibility of Hope with Alfonso Cuarón. His first novel is Le cose brutte non esistono.
[...] and culture's gap. At the end of the day we are what we play. The universal religion of football, one more time, creates followers anywhere and detach itself from fanatics.

In the hearth of Damascus, with the sinister sound of mortars in the background, I felt like at Wembley Stadium. Thanks to a couple of kids and a ball. [Ø]

Riccardo Romani