The FC Barcelona Foundation and Shell have taken the ‘FutbolNet’ programme to Iraq PHOTO: FCB

Sergi González, at left, with the local autorities in the presentation of 'FutbolNet' a l'Iraq. FOTO: FCB

The FC Barcelona Foundation and Shell have completed the application of the ‘FutbolNet’ programme to the Middle East by initiating activities in Iraq. The establishment in the country of the methodology that fosters values through football was celebrated with a recent inauguration ceremony in Basra, and was attended by Sergi González, patron of the FC Barcelona Foundation; Hans Nijkamp, Shell’s main agent in Iraq, and Waleed Al-Musawi, the director general of the Iraqi Ministry of Youth and Sport.

Country-wide project

This project is getting under way in Iraq with the celebration of a series of ‘FutbolNet Festivals’, starting on June 5 in the city of Basra, and later visiting the provinces of Zobeir, Abil Khasib, Annashwa and Al Deir in the south of Iraq. In each zone, the ‘FutbolNet Festival’ will last for five days, during which children and parents alike will have the chance to interact with this methodology, play football and generally get to understand the ‘FutbolNet’ philosophy.

The programme will be operating in Iraq for two years and will involve the participation of some 2,000 youngsters. The venues will be local football clubs and the beneficiaries have been selected on the basis of age and proximity. ‘FutbolNet’ is a programme that has been developed to promote sport as a vehicle for fostering values between children all around the world. The methodology favours living and leadership skills such as commitment, respect, tolerance, teamwork and responsibility among children aged 8 to 16 years.

Positive feedback from organisations involved

“The application of ‘FutbolNet’ will help young people in Iraq to use football to work on the values required for personal development, both individually and collectively. And we are thrilled to be taking this initiative to Iraq, a country where football is lived with so much passion”, commented the patron of the FC Barcelona Foundation, Sergi González, during the recent presentation of the project in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Hans Nijkamp, vice president of Shell in Iraq, added that “’FutbolNet’ reflects the extensive and active collaboration of Shell with Iraq. ‘FutbolNet’ has been shown to be a highly effective method for providing tools to young people in order to help them develop over the years. In Iraq, the programme will provide knowledge and leadership skills that will not only have a positive impact on their lives, but also on those of their families and communities. It is the shared passion for football in Iraq and the rest of the world that is helping the sport to play such a positive role in young people’s lives”.