A party representing FC Barcelona, and led by president Josep Maria Bartomeu, was in Lausanne on Monday for a meeting with IOC president Thomas Bach. Ramon Pont, the first vice-president for the Foundation, was also in attendance as the two entities continued strengthening their ties focused on the teaching of values through sport.
They particularly wanted to focus on the joint charity projects that they have been running in Africa since establishing an agreement in April 2013.
“We have done some formidable work up until now through the alliance between the FC Barcelona Foundation and the IOC” explained Bartomeu. “We have managed to reach a large number of African countries where we are applying a pedagogic methodology that is showing that the languages of football and values are universal. And the IOC is offering everything it can to help us.”
"At the IOC we want to bring the values of sport to all fields of society, across all borders, and to foster Olympism year-round", said Barch. "Through this partnership with the FC Barcelona Foundation, we are providing almost 100,000 young people throughout Africa with the opportunity to practice sport and be empowered thanks to the educational program which promotes Olympic values such as friendship, excellence and respect. I thank FC Barcelona for this collaboration and their commitment to place sport at the service of humankind.”
4 month tournament, 100,000 beneficiaries
The FutbolNet methodology has been used in 35 different African countries in the form of the Olympafrica FutbolNet Cup, which is being held for the second time in 2013/14. Last season’s edition began with a teacher training seminar in the Togolese capital of Lomé, where representatives of the participant nations were introduced to the FutbolNet method.
The competition lasted for four months and featured 100,000 children aged between 12 and 15. The aim was not just for them to enjoy playing football, but also to learn about values in the thousands of matches that were held throughout the continent.
Matches are won and lost in accordance with the FutbolNet philosophy. The players themselves establish the rules, which are based on five key values of respect, effort, teamwork, humility and ambition. There are no referees, which encourages dialogue and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
The Olympafrica FutbolNet Cup 2013/14 was played in 35 African countries: Benin, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo Brazzaville, Ivory Costa, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Congo DR, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Chad, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Both institutions positively appraised the work done and did the groundwork for what will be the third edition of the tournament later this season.
Barça and the Olympics
During the meeting, Thomas Bach spoke about the close relation between athletes from FC Barcelona and the Olympic Games. Since Carles Pajarón represented Barça at the Antwerp Olympics in 1920, about 200 sportspeople from the club have attended the Games. Athens, Beijing and London were the peak editions, when Barça sent 23, 22 and 21 athletes respectively.