UNITY Cup London 2010 – The biggest event so far
FC Unity’s Young Leaders create one of the largest youth-led community football tournaments in London
With over 300 games, 100 teams and 1,000 players and played over three consecuitve weekends the 4th annual UNITY Cup, organised and managed by a diverse group of young Londoners, has proved yet again what young people can achive once they are empowered. Even the London weather proved to be kind, as players and organisers enjoyed three weekends of sunny skies.
After four qualifying tournaments in East (26th June), North (27th June), South (3rd July) and West(4th July) London, with over 80 community teams competing, the finals of the 4th annual UNITY Cup London took place at Paddington Recreation Ground on Saturday 10th July.
The finals were kicked with short speeches by Truce International chairwoman Nancy Dell’Olio and FC Unity founder Yamam Nabeel, with BBC Arabic, Al Fayhaa and Al Forat TV covering the event.
24 men’s and 5 women’s teams competed (in seperate competitions) for the title. After 6 hours of group and knock-out stages, LBG, a community team from Ladbroke Grove, defeated Allstars, another community team from West London, on penalties in the men’s final. LBG became the first team in FC Unity’s history to retain the title.
In the women’s final, Haringey Borough WFC, a community team from North London defeated MSA Ladies, who represented the Maritius Sports Association of the UK, 3-0 to become the first women’s champions of the UNITY Cup London.
In its 4th year, this youth-led community football tournament promote understanding and social cohesion among the city’s various communities, organised by FC Unity’s young leaders - a group of young Londoners from diverse ethnic, religious and social backgrounds.
Teams have been representing their communities and country of origin, as well as civil society insitutions, government departments, charities, non-govermental organisations, colleges and universities. Their have been taking part in this tournament series in order to showcase a united stand against terrorism and to promote cross-cultural understanding. This year in addition to the community teams,the UNITY Cup London saw teams representing schoold teachers, police officers and civil servants.
The inaugural UNITY Cup (2007) was a commemoration of the 7/7 bombings. This year’s event continued as a rememberance of those who were killed during the July 7th terror attack but also served as a platform to help foster community cohesion and social integration.
Broadly, the Unity Cup aims to traverse ethnic and religious barriers by integrating minority communities into mainstream British society through providing a safe space for them to take part in a sport that they enjoy. The Unity Cup provides a platform for participants to interact with, and play against those from other cultural backgrounds, with 150 nationalities represented in the past four years.
Following the tournament FC Unity will host debates and lectures on a range of social issues including multiculturalism, leadership and active citizenship. FC Unity believe that cross cultural tensions exist due to a lack of understanding and familiarity with others. FC Unity use the Unity Cup to integrate and educate young people to be more tolerant of those from other cultures, a mechanic which has already proven successful in Iraq in a similar project working with various communities in the previously war-torn country.