The international streetfootballworld Festival 16 has been launched in Lyon at a ceremony hosted by the Sport dans la Ville association.
The festival, which will take place next summer, will bring together 500 children and young people in celebration of UEFA EURO 2016 in France. The highlight will be an international solidarity tournament, supported by the UEFA Foundation for Children.
It will be their own UEFA EURO 2016 – a far-reaching event sponsored by Sport dans la Ville in Lyon, with children and young people from all over Europe and beyond coming together from 30 June to 7 July 2016. Sport dans la Ville is an association that was created in 1998 and has received backing from numerous partners, including the UEFA foundation.
The festival was launched in the presence of some 200 children from different Sport dans la Ville's centres around the city, who were given the opportunity to have their photos taken with, and get autographs from Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Nabil Fekir, who is currently recovering from injury. The children also formed a guard of honour for all the personalities and partners present, and gave a very warm welcome to Super Victor, the official UEFA EURO 2016 mascot.
"We really value the fact that UEFA not only organises major international competitions, but also makes it possible for events like this international solidarity tournament to take place in the context of UEFA EURO 2016," said Lyon club president Jean-Michael Aulas.
"This is one of two tournaments that UEFA, through its Foundation for Children, is supporting in connection with UEFA EURO 2016," said Jacques Lambert, president of EURO 2016 SAS. "We want to stress the fact that everyday football, the football played by youngsters in the country and the city, is almost more important than the football played by the big names we see on TV, because that is what brings the game to life. We must not forget this fundamental aspect of our sport. I'm sure this festival will be a wonderful success."
Éric Abidal and Ludovic Giuly, both of whom made names for themselves at Lyon and won the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona, will be the UEFA Foundation for Children's ambassadors in the city. "It's always great to help out young people who need some structure and this kind of support," said Giuly, "so that they can grow and have fun in the best possible conditions. We all dreamed of taking part in this kind of festival at their age. We're delighted to be able to make it happen for them.
"I really treasure the role of ambassador," Giuly added. "Football is something I know very well, and I love working with children. What's more, this is a really important initiative. I'm proud to be a Lyonnais and to do my bit to support an event like this."
The UEFA Foundation for Children is also organising the 20,000 Children's Smiles initiative – which, with the help of a large number of ambassadors, will give 20,000 disadvantaged children the opportunity to attend matches at EURO 2016.
ABOUT THE ORGANISERS:
The global streetfootballworld network unites more than 100 community organisations that use football to bring about social change. For these organisations, football is more than a game; it is a motivator and a common language that helps us to progress by learning from one another.
Sport dans la Ville (www.sportdanslaville.com)
Sport dans la Ville is the biggest French non-profit organisation working to promote social and professional integration through sport for people aged seven to 25 who live in disadvantaged areas.
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