Amajorfootball tournamentforyoung peopleisbeinglaunchedacrossEasternEuropeandEurasianextmonthwithamessage againstracism.
The Lukoil Children Champions Cup is a Europe-wide football tournament uniting children from 22 countries under the slogan “We Play Against Racism”.
International footballers including Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea FC, Dimitar Berbatov of Fulham and Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos will act as ambassadors of the tournament, which has set its main goal as being to promote diversity and the fight against racism.
The tournament is being supported by the Fare anti-discrimination network. Pavel Klymenko, the Fare Eastern Europe development officer commented:
“We welcome the efforts of organisers to educate children about the power of diversity and to use well-known European football players. Bringing together children from Europe and Asia in a joint celebration is a much needed illustration of the power football has to unite people across differences”.
The first of the qualifying tournaments will take place this weekend, 17-18 May in the Belgian town of Lommel with leading Belgian coach and former national goalkeeper Michel Prudhomme in attendance.
Teams from Anderlecht, Tottenham Hotspur, Hertha Berlin and Venlo from the Netherlands will also take part.
Further rounds will be played in Latvia, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia. The ambassadors – the full list of which is Yuri Laizans, Dimitar Berbatov, Adrian Mutu and Branislav Ivanovic – will make appearances at the qualifying rounds.
A finals tournament will be held in August in Istanbul with Roberto Carlos.
Russia will be represented by CSKA, Lokomotiv Moscow, Rubin Kazan with Danish side Nordsjalland, Belarusians BATE, Sweden’s Malmo and PAOK, Bulgarias’ CSKA, Turkish giants Galatasaray, Shaktar Donetsk and Steaua Bucharest all reprised by U12 junior teams.