This week 400 football passionate teenagers from 53 European countries come together in the Alps to take part in the EUROSCHOOLS YOUTH CAMP 2008.
After one year of taking over the ambassador role for 26 member countries of the UEFA nations, 26 Austrian schools have welcomed on Monday delegations from the UEFA nations at the EUROSCHOOLS YOUTH CAMP 2008 in Steinach in Tirol. For four days 200 young people between 13 and 15 come together for an unique intercultural exchange where fair play will be experienced in several workshops and at special street football tournaments.
At the same time 27 Swiss and Liechtenstein schools meet 27 delegations from 27 UEFA member countries in the town of Trogen in Switzerland. All 400 participants will then meet between 18 and 21 September in Vaduz, the capital town Liechtenstein.
Opening session highlighted the need to challenge racism
At the opening of the Youth Camp in Austria the Surinamese-born striker Samuel Koejoe of FC Wacker Innsbruck, who formerly played for FC Freiburg in the German Bundesliga shared his experience of dealing with racist abuse with the young audience. Koejoe recalled an incidence in his first season in the Austrian Bundesliga:
“We played away against Rapid Vienna at their home ground and some fans started with these monkey chants, just because I’m black. My reaction was to give them the finger. Some day later I police wrote to me that they are going to to file a charge against me. I could not believe it, they treated me as if were the perpetrator and not the racists on the terraces!”
Samuel Koejoe advised the young footballers in the audience to show respect and to “play their own game”. The opening evening closed with a breathtaking trick-kick show performed by Aldin and Martin, two team members of the EUROSCHOOLS 2008 cup final winners from Salzburg.
The official closing ceremony will take place in Vaduz right after the Fair Play football tournament on 20th September. In front of the government building Prince Alois of Liechtenstein and Senes Erzik, first vice-president of UEFA will address the participants.
School project of EURO 2008
The EUROSCHOOLS YOUTH CAMP represents the highlight of the EUROSCHOOLS 2008 project, which was the official school project in preparation of the UEFA EURO 2008 held in Switzerland and Austria in June. Aims of the Youth Camps are the sensitisation for the cultural variety of Europe, promotion of Fair Play on and off the football pitch and creating European friendships and school contacts extending beyond UEFA EURO 2008.
Das EUROSCHOOLS YOUTH CAMP 2008 wird von der Fürstlichen Regierung sowie vom EU-Programm «Jugend in Aktion» unterstützt. Wir freuen uns auf eine tolle, unvergessliche Zeit in Liechtenstein!
The Camps receive financial backing from UEFA, the 'Youth in Action' programme of the European Union, the Swiss and Liechtenstein government and as well as form the FA of of Liechtenstein. The Youth Camps are organised by streetfootballworld in partnership with the Austrian FARE partner FairPlay-vidc, the Swiss Academy for Development and the Foundation Children's Village Pestalozzi.