On Wednesday, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and FC Barcelona president, Sandro Rosell, signed an agreement that extends the ‘FutbolNet’ project in Africa until 2016. The agreement was signed at midday at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Ramon Pont, first vice-president of the Foundation, was also in attendance.
The alliance between the IOC and the FC Barcelona Foundation, which began last April, is the first that the Olympic organisation has ever signed with a sports club’s foundation. FC Barcelona is a dedicated promoter of the Olympic tradition and is famed for being a club that participates in a wide range of sports. The work done together in 2013 has enabled the organisation of sports tournaments based on the fostering of values in 23 different African countries.
Olympafrica FutbolNet Cup extended to 35 countries
Following on from the success of the first edition of the Olympafrica FutbolNet Cup, held from March to June 2013, the FC Barcelona Foundation and the IOC have laid the foundations for this initiative to be extended until 2016 and in even more countries.
From 2014, the project will be reaching 35 African countries a year: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Comoros, Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, the Seychelles, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Chad, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Almost 100,000 beneficiaries a year throughout the African continent
These tournaments will be commencing once again from March 2014 in these 35 countries, involving the participation of almost 100,000 children aged between 12 and 15. However, some of the work is already under way, and just three weeks ago the first training seminar was held in the Togo for educators in countries that have newly joined the project.
The Olympafrica FutbolNet Cup is a series of football tournaments with values based on the methodology used by the FC Barcelona Foundation’s ‘FutbolNet’ project. The idea is for children to learn and work on different football-based values, including discussion as an active part of the game, in which the winner is not the team that scores the most goals, but the team that best applies the values they are studying.
Pioneer agreement based on the ‘FutbolNet’ methodology
The alliance between the FC Barcelona Foundation and the IOC, signed last April, is the first that the IOC has ever signed with a sports club’s foundation.
The FC Barcelona Foundation’s ‘FutbolNet’ project uses a methodology that seeks to teach children about the the positive values that can be derived from playing football.
‘FutbolNet’ is a game played by special rules. The work concentrates on such aspects as commitment, respect, tolerance, team-work, responsibility and effort. For example, there is no referee. Instead, there is what is called a ‘teamer’, a moderator who observes the game without issuing cautions and the winner is not the team that scores the most goals, but the team that best applies the values being learned.
‘FutbolNet’ sessions are divided into two parts: a pre-match debate in which the participants decide on the rules of play and analyse the key issues involved in the value they are working on; a football match; and a post-match discussion in which the participants evaluate each other’s behaviour. Thus, dialogue becomes a part of the game, rather than just a complement.
The Foundation is applying this project in Catalonia but also internationally in Brazil, Oman, Qatar and Iraq.
Bach: “I thank the FCB Foundation for their commitment to sport”
After the agreement was signed, IOC president Thomas Bach said that thanks to this project “while the beneficiaries are enjoying the game, they are also learning the values that make sport such a powerful tool. I thank the FCB Foundation for its commitment both to sport and to the people that receive its social benefits”.
Rosell: “Football is a never-ending source of values”
Meanwhile, Rosell said that he feels “very proud to work with such a prestigious entity as the International Olympic Committee”. He also expressed to Thomas Bach his conviction that “sport, and football in particular, is a never-ending source of values and its language is universal. This project has enjoyed success in Catalonia, in Brazil, the Middle East, and thanks to this alliance, it is also continuing to develop in Africa.”